British Cycling president calls on Olympic organisers to provide free access to Box Hill
Appeal comes as Games organisers unveil plans for big screens in Olympic Park and eslewhere in London

The president of British Cycling has called on Olympic Games organisers LOCOG to rethink proposals to charge spectators to watch this summer’s Olympic road races on Box Hill. The news comes as plans are unveiled to let those without tickets for Olympic venues watch events on giant screens within the Olympic Park as well as other locations in the capital.

As reported here on road.cc last week, LOCOG is considering charging the 15,000 people who will be allowed onto the restricted section of Box Hill, which is owned by the National Trust.

The section of the route in question features the climb of Zig-Zag Road which will be tackled nine times in the men's road race and twice in the women's race.

British Cycling president Brian Cookson told The Daily Telegraph: “It would be absolutely better if it was free of charge because cycling is a sport that is traditionally free to watch.

"I do appreciate the difficult environmental issues that have to be resolved in the sensitive environment of Box Hill, and you can't have an unrestricted free-for-all like the Tour de France,” he acknowledged.

“But while the numbers have to be managed, it would be absolutely better if it was free of charge."

However, LOCOG chief executive Paul Deighton has said he believes it is “perfectly appropriate... to consider charging for the tickets," adding that the mechanics of ticketing, including their cost, were still being worked upon.

LOCOG is also finalising plans to allow public access to the Olympic Park during the Games, although again there will be a restriction on numbers and there is likely to be a cost involved, reports the BBC.

Once inside, spectators will be able to watch events on giant screens, the biggest of which will be double-sided and installed on a barge on the River Lea.

Hyde Park in Central London and Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets will also house big screens, with free entry – other than to watch the opening and closing ceremonies in Hyde Park – although at both venues, spectator numbers will be restricted.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


BigDummy [314 posts] 3 years ago

The people organising this thing really must think their budget is actually fragrantly farted into existence by tiny little benevolent money-farting pixies!

step-hent [718 posts] 3 years ago
BigDummy wrote:

...tiny little benevolent money-farting pixies!

Awesome concept - we could all do with a few of those!

monty dog [444 posts] 3 years ago

Does anyone really believe that the Olympics is being arranged for anyone but the self-serving purpose of a few? We've given them billions and they hide behind a veil of indifference, obstructing any attempts at transparency.

liam.cahill1 [42 posts] 3 years ago

This is awful. The reason why races in normal cycling, both cross and road, is because of the the spectators. Fleche-wallone and the aples would be nothing if it wasn't for the noise and colour of places such as dutch corner. Mostly it will only be cyclists watching on the roadside so why not let us make it a spectical? Think about it LOCOG, are any of you sports people? On this evidence, you definately aren't cycling fans.

Mostyn [396 posts] 3 years ago

Oop's another about turn by LOCOG - Viewing screens strategically positioned; But, Numbers restricted! Box Hill = Pay to view, supposedly because it's National Trust Land; and again numbers restricted - but with a ££££Price to pay. Extra Police to stop you getting anywhere along the race route for the Olympic Road Races; or should that be Olympic Road Farces? Money-money and more money is all they're concerned with!

Paul Deighton said "It is perfectly Appropriate to charge for tickets" seems money is the main interest as far as LOCOG is concerned!

Road racing on bicycles should be free to view along any highway in the UK. As for controling the numbers of spectators? Well, providing the roads are closed or cordened off an hour or two before the races should be sufficient crowd control.

Only in the UK could this happen to an open to view Olympic event. It will certainly take the GREAT out of Britain.

WolfieSmith [1235 posts] 3 years ago

I do wonder about the logic of ticketing a roadside event. Surely they will have to spend a wedge of the potential ticket money revenue on a fence around Box Hill with some Hi Vis numpties on the gate to stop those without tickets getting a view and trampling the orchids/butterflies/owls/newts/ etc ( delete where applicable) ?

I intend to see the race at the start/finish line with a TV break in the pub in between. Taking the 'logic' of ticketing a country road further are LOCOG going to try and charge everyone in the Mall and the route in from Box Hill? They'll need every Jobsworth in the UK bussed in.  39