London 2012: Games’ legacy to include two-day cycling festival RideLondon
An annual two-day cycling festival in London, which will include a London Marathon style cycle ride, is to begin next year as part of the legacy of the London 2012 Games, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Team GB gold medallist Laura Trott have announced.
The inaugural RideLondon will take place on August 3 and 4 and comprise of four events - RideLondon Freecycle, RideLondon Grand Prix, RideLondon 100 and RideLondon Classic.
Mr Johnson, accompanied by Team GB double gold medallist Laura Trott, announced plans for RideLondon this morning at a press conference hosted by Gary Linekar.
The mayor said: “This year London has been the place to be and yet again this amazing city has proved its expertise in hosting major world class sporting and cultural events.
“Our challenge is to ensure that 2012 is just the start, not the end of the benefits of hosting the Games. We also need to capitalise on the incredible achievements of Team GB’s Olympic cyclists whose superhuman efforts will inspire thousands more Londoners to take to two wheels.
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“I urge every Londoner and cycle fanatics from all over the country, if not the world, to mark the weekend of August 3 2013 in their diaries for what I believe will become one of the world’s number one cycling events.”
Mr Johnson, who arrived at the press conference on his bike, joked with journalists, asking them how many had cycled to the event, and calling the lack of hands in the air in answer to his question “derisory”.
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Speaking about RideLondon he said: “I do think it will be a wonderful thing. I don’t know why it hasn’t been tried before, perhaps it’s to do with road closures, but they will be absolutely painless.”
The Freecycle will be an eight mile route through London on closed roads for up to 70,000 people. The Grand Prix, also known as Criterium Racing, will be an invitational city centre loop providing a focus for the women’s elite, hand-cycles and youth groups.
RideLondon 100 will be a 100 mile challenge ride through London and Surrey, and will be a charity fundraising event like the London Marathon.
The Classic will start in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - the name given to the Olympic Park after the Games end - and follow part of the Olympic Road Race route. It will see the international men’s elite take to the roads of London and Surrey. Organisers hope the event will become part of the UCI’s official race calendar and include riders such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.
Detailed routes will be announced later this year, but organisers hope the finish for all routes, subject to approval, will be The Mall.
Laura, who has won both both team and individual track golds at these Games, said: “It’s been amazing the way the British public have really got behind Team GB and cycling in general during the last few weeks.
“I’ve been completely blown away by how many people have come out to support us. The crowd noise in the Velodrome was something I will never forget.
“It’s great to think we may have inspired people to get on their bikes and RideLondon is a great opportunity for the public to get out and join us on the roads. Cycling has always been a huge part of my family’s life and I hope that having watched the Games lots more people will be encouraged to have a go.”
RideLondon will be managed by the London & Surrey Cycling Partnership, a joint venture between the organisers of the London Marathon and The Tour of Britain.
Online registration is now open.