London prepares for Olympic cycling test eventShareThis
This Sunday (14 August 2011) sees London welcome the test event for the Olympic road race cycling event. The London-Surrey Cycle Classic, as it has been named, takes place on closed roads over a 140km route passing through central and southwest London into Surrey.
The race will start and at 9am in The Mall and is expected to finish back in the mall just after midday.
The race will pass through Putney, Richmond, Hampton, and into Surrey, where after passing through picturesque countryside it will take on “the mite” of Box Hill. The riders will do two zig zag circuits on Box Hill before heading back into London. See the full course here.
Box Hill is a climb familiar to amateur cyclists in Southern England. Legions of lycra-clad cyclists tear around the Surrey countryside and head off to Box for the gradient, switchbacks, views and cakes at the National Trust cafe at the top.
The climb takes a strong amateur cyclist about 7 minutes to complete and is a stiff test for those less powerful. It gains recognition in the excellent 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs and is often used in Sportives (such as the Legs of Steel).
Richmond park used to be famous for the dears which roam freely around the 1000 hectares. In recent times, as they will during the race, cyclists have dominated.
There are two inclines of note in the Park. Broomfield Hill, which features in our Great Road Climbs of London series, which is shorter and much sharper than Sawyers Hill. The pros will climb Sawyers from both directions.
Don’t expect any split in the peloton on this climb but do expect photographs of confused looking deer as the peloton speeds by.
The London-Surrey Cycle Classic will feature 28 teams of five riders each. Most of the teams will be national teams, but there are a few UK-based professional outfits including Endura and Rapha-Condor-Sharp.
The GB team features Mark Cavendish and Ben Swift. There is also an English team featuring Russ Downing. Also provisionally on the start list are Matthew Goss (AUS), who won the 2011 Milan-San Remo Classic, Tyler Farrar (USA), Silvain Chavanel (France), Tom Boonen (Belgium) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway). A full provisional start list can be seen here.
Where to watch
The race is free to watch and there are several places along the route where you can catch the action. For safety reasons, pedestrians will be only allowed to cross the route at marshalled points. You can view the estimated race schedule timings and where the race will pass through here.
The Box Hill area in Surrey, which is a site of Special Scientific Interest, has restricted access and is capacity controlled. Tickets for this area have already been distributed and you will not be allowed to enter unless you have a wristband. The start and finish area on The Mall is also restricted to wristband holders and will not be open to the general public.
Cycling to the event?
Other parts of the course are open for spectators to watch. Spectators can cycle to any part of the race route that is open to traffic (click here for local road closures). Given likely crowd numbers along certain areas of the route, the use of a bicycle may be impractical and should be considered carefully. Our advice is to cycle to a spectating area where you are likely to be able to park your bike safely at a cycle stands or keep it safely in front of you.