CROWDS of cycling fans turned out to cheer on Oxford University’s team as they took on rivals Cambridge in a city centre race.

The varsity race, part of the Halfords Tour Series programme, saw Cambridge pedal to victory in St Giles’ this afternoon with Wojciech Szlachta the winner.

Earlier in the day Oxfordshire schools also raced the 1.4km circuit as excitement builds ahead of tonight’s main event.

As the women’s race started at 5pm the entire route was lined with supporters showing their support by waving banners and rattles to spur the competitors on.

Hugh Roberts, chief executive of the Halfords Tour Series, said: “Generally speaking it has been a great success and next year if we came back we would expect much greater crowds.”

At 7pm 50 elite riders will take part in the Oxford stage of the UK race.

They will include Olympic gold medalist Ed Clancy as the athletes compete in Oxford for the first time as part of the tour.