London 2012 road races to be held on Olympic Games' opening weekend

Start and finish outside Buckingham Palace with laps of Box Hill also on the route

by Simon_MacMichael   August 3, 2010  

london olympics.jpg

With just under two years to go till the 2012 Olympic Games, organisers Locog have confirmed that both the men’s and women’s road races will take place on the opening weekend, on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 July, respectively.

While the full route is still subject to approval of cycling’s governing body, the UCI, according to a report on the website More Than The Games, the dates have been confirmed by Locog director of sport, Debbie Jeavons.

The website adds that it is expected that the men’s road race will follow a 240km route, and the women’s event 130km. Both will start and finish on The Mall, with Buckingham Palace providing a TV-friendly background, and will head through Kensington & Chelsea on their way to Hampton Court Palace. The route will then take in several laps of Box Hill in Surrey.

The route marks a departure from one originally envisaged by Locog, which comprised a circuit running from Regents Park, up Highgate West Hill and back down through Hampstead, that was rejected by the UCI which reasons including the lack of iconic London landmarks it passed. Most of that circuit had been trialled during the Tour of Britain in 2006, the year after London was awarded the Games.

The provisional schedule for all Olympic events is due to be submitted to the International Olympic Committee this November and the final schedule will be approved early in 2011.

8 user comments

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Sweet, I do the very same route for some of my rides. Lets hope for no potholes. Shame about the other circuit, there would have been at least a climb or two on the Highgate course

posted by wossington [11 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 18:29


I rode the original route after it was announced, okay Highgate West Hill isn't exactly Alpe d'Huez but still a nasty kick 10th, 11th, 12th etc time you go up it*, and the gradient has to be in the mid-to-high teens towards the top. The speed bumps positioned every so often weren't exactly welcomed by my legs, either.

* Not that I did it that many times, but the Olympic men's race would have Wink

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [9240 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 18:38


rejected by the UCI which reasons including the lack of iconic London landmarks

I initially misread that as "lack of ironic London landmarks." I was just thinking that Regents Park and Hampstead Heath have several well known spots frequented by drug takers - not PEDs it is true. And Highgate Cemetery is said to be haunted by a ghostly cyclist, whose ethereal bicycle probably contravenes the UCI 6.8kg minimum weight limit.

posted by handlebarcam [545 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 20:01

1 Like

Lack of London landmarks on the Highgate route? Ok, so North past Camden Lock up Highgate West Hill, over the top past Kenwood House, through the Hampstead Heath on Spaniards and South towards Regent Park, Marylebone, Hyde Park, South Kensington isn't iconic enough? Such a shame we now get the boring route out past Richmond Park and back. Crying

I love my Secteur!

posted by HaloJ [21 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 23:50

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It is a shame, I had the perfect pub staked out to watch the race go past 15 times Wink

Still, if they want iconic London landmarks, maybe I should try and get a gig writing the broadcast notes* and point out all the old punk hangouts on the Kings Road, assuming they go that way.

But much as I liked the idea of the Regents Park/Hampstead Heath circuit, I think a longer course with fewer laps at the end of it will make for some spectacular helicopter shots along the river and over places such as Hampton Court.

*Yeah, sorry folks... you didn't actually think that Eurosport and ITV4 had an encyclopedic knowledge of random facts about provincial French towns and various chateaux that they spontaneously shared with viewers, did you?

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [9240 posts]
4th August 2010 - 8:26


Wow that is going to take some planning to have full road closures along a route like that.

Please please don't tell me they'd try and have a rolling road closure for such an event.

Laps of Box Hill will be good test although I'm sure Cav will cope.

I cannot wait to get down there to see the squads reccying the route and try to trail them up Box Hill.

posted by gazzaputt [188 posts]
4th August 2010 - 9:19


Time to join the National Trust and park for free in their car park at the top of Box Hill...

I reckon the Road Race route should follow that of the L2B, including the 2 mph push up Turners Hill and The Beacon - that's grass-roots cycling for you Smile

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posted by andylul [418 posts]
4th August 2010 - 9:45


+1 for the London to Brighton idea.

Either than or the Dunwich Dynamo. Running it at night would make it prime time for the US TV market.

posted by handlebarcam [545 posts]
4th August 2010 - 12:19