Wiggo and Cav expected to draw huge crowds to Olympic road race
Bigger superlatives needed as whole of Europe heads for Surrey this weekend
As the opening big event of the Olympics and one of the few you can actually watch for free, Saturday's men's road race was already expected to be big. After Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France at the weekend, and Mark Cavendish took his fourth consecutive win on the Champs Elysees, the authorities have been forced to revise their crowd estimates up to 'huge'.
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for community services and the 2012 games, said: “Mark Cavendish could win Team GB’s first gold medal this weekend and just a few days later Bradley Wiggins is tipped to win the time trial, both on Surrey’s roads, so we’re expecting huge crowds.”
Of course (blatant plug warning!) the best place to take in the road race will be a the Surrey Hills Road Race Festival at Denbies Vineyard. There'll be a BBC live screen shwing all the action, and an expo area with 2013 Trek bikes and Thomas Voeckler's own Colnago C59 on display, as organised by er, us.
The festival takes place on 28-29 July at Denbies Wine Estate, just off the A24. It's right next to the route and only a short walk from the Box Hill loop, so there's plenty of opportunities to see the race live. There'll be masses of food and drink available on site too to keep you topped up through a long day of racing.
There's secure bike parking too, if you decide to wander over on two wheels.
Check out the festival website for all the latest news about who's coming and what's happening. As well as that there's a mailing list which we'll use to keep everyone informed about the event. If you want to get updates about the Festival, you can sign up on the event website.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming and Helen Clack says that the council is “urging people to be prepared and plan ahead to enjoy these Olympic events in the county. That will help us minimise the inevitable disruption that staging events of this size will bring.
“It’s a big job. We have to create the biggest venues of the Games from scratch and 42 miles of roadside barriers have already started to be stacked around the road race route.
“There’ll be road closures and parking restrictions along the route on event days, so we’re asking people to avoid driving in the area if at all possible. If you want to catch the action, staying local and walking is the best option.
“Journeys will take longer than usual and public transport will be busier. We’ve provided all the information people need to plan their journeys in advance at gosurrey.info and we would urge everyone to use it.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch Olympic history unfold literally on our doorsteps. With some planning and foresight we can all enjoy it.”
Extensive road closures and parking restrictions will be in place around the race routes from the early hours of the morning this weekend.
Surrey Council says it aims to reopen most roads three hours after the last race vehicle passes. However, it is expected to take longer in areas where there will be larger crowds such as around Dorking town centre, Hampton Court, Leatherhead town centre and Box Hill.
People are being encouraged to use public transport where possible. Extra trains and carriages will be put on but some bus services will be suspended and most trains won’t allow bikes.
Visit www.gosurrey.info for more information on the Olympic Games in Surrey.