Sunday’s 74th Criterium de Quillan was a hugely exciting race. There were frequent leadership battles and the riders didn’t fail to entertain. Nacer Bouhanni eventually won, ahead of Lilian Calmejane and Sylvain Chavanel

The town was closed in the lead up to the race and incoming spectators arriving into town paid ten euros, which covered a colourful programme useful for autograph-seekers. Before the event, race enthusiasts chatted to the riders and some of the sport’s real celebrities came into Quillan’s cafes to greet the crowds and sign autographs. Some were so enthusiastic that the start time of the race was actually delayed! Even after all this, they looked relaxed, and remained pleasant and friendly, taking time to speak to people and to inspire the youngsters

Lilian Calmejane signed autographs outside Le Palace

l’Association Sportif Quillanaise (ASF) should be congratulated. It is very special for a town like Quillan to play host to an event like this, where the spectators have such access to the participants, and it was wonderful to see young riders cycling the course before the start of the race. They are the future of sport, after all

After the Criterium the fun continued. The entire (extended) weekend was filled with entertainment. There were bands in the evenings, there was a fair, and the bars were full of people having a good time

young riders test the course

Title photo courtesy of E Columna. All other photos Network News


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