Oi, where’s our Olympic road race?

Barnet residents unhappy about re-routing of 2012 Games event

by Mark Appleton   October 30, 2010  

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Residents of the London borough of Barnet are said to be “up in arms” after the 2012 Olympic road race was re-routed away from the area.

The UCI is said to have told the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) that a “review” of the original route was required as it was considered not challenging enough.

A similar situation arose with the original mountain bike venue two years ago when the UCI also deemed LOCOG’s preferred venue in Essex to be insufficiently challenging. There have been suggestions that the alternative course, unveiled this week elsewhere in Essex, is little better.

As for the road race course, in a letter to councillors, LOCOG suggested that the section of the course through Barnet failed to meet the UCI’s "technical requirements” and also cited Transport for London concerns over the impact holding the event there would have on the borough’s roads.

The course would have taken riders through the south of the borough, along the Bishops Avenue, in East Finchley - something that is now said by LOCOG to be not "technically feasible," according to the London Daily News.

Councillor Robert Rams, Barnet's cabinet member for customer access and partnerships, called the decision a "blow to not only the borough, but more importantly its residents who have contributed financially to the Games and are now being denied the chance to be involved," the News reports.

He said: "Many of the residents are up in arms about having to pay the money but they won't see any benefit to the borough, while people in Essex are not paying anything and are having the benefits right on their doorstep."
 

8 user comments

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"...and also cited Transport for London concerns over the impact holding the event there would have on the borough’s roads..."

Which probably translates to "We can't afford to have the roads repaired to a safe standard." Perhaps.

posted by DAG on a bike [46 posts]
31st October 2010 - 9:33

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I should have thought that dodging potholes and other road hazards would have made the road race sufficiently challenging!

posted by SimpleSimon [109 posts]
31st October 2010 - 10:35

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MTB race in Essex .... Hmmm IT'S FLAT!!!

posted by GrimpeurChris [59 posts]
1st November 2010 - 11:26

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lots of good things being said about the MTB course - the elevation change at 70m is more than the Beijing course was, and by all accounts it's well laid out and a good mix of technical and fast

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7252 posts]
1st November 2010 - 11:36

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The Bishops Avenue probably has more billionaires per property than any other road on the planet. I can't exactly see reclusive Russian oligarchs and Saudi princes being too upset about the races not passing through.

Must admit I was a fan of the original Hampstead circuit, but I am trying hard to imagine how no longer having the road race pass along a 1km, hugely wealthy street in the south east corner of the borough of Barnet denies its residents the chance to get involved in the Olympics - it's not like the rest of the events are being held in Beijing, is it?

Got to love local politics. I imagine it's more because with no road race, Barnet cannot now promote itself as an Olympic host borough.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7893 posts]
1st November 2010 - 12:01

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and then there's always Wales for the MTB ... oh my
mistake that's not part of the londoncentric portion
of England is it ... pah ....

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [677 posts]
1st November 2010 - 12:04

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therevokid wrote:
and then there's always Wales for the MTB ... oh my
mistake that's not part of the londoncentric portion
of England is it ... pah ....

Difficult to blame London (and environs) getting all the events since it is the city, not the country, to which the Games get awarded Wink

IOC policy (reflected in the venues chosen) is that where there is no suitable venue in the city itself, it goes as close as is practical.

So you get MTB in Essex, rowing at Dorney Lakes in Berskshire, white water canoeing in Herfordshire, all just outside Greater London, sailing is a bit further away in Weymouth.

Football qualifiers are spread round the country, including Cardiff, in line with what has has happened in previous Olympics.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7893 posts]
1st November 2010 - 12:48

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GrimpeurChris wrote:
MTB race in Essex .... Hmmm IT'S FLAT!!!

No honestly there are bloody huge hills in Essex ... or maybe I am just getting old?

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posted by Greensox [14 posts]
2nd November 2010 - 17:37

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