Mayor of London Boris Johnson has unveiled the grand plan for RideLondon, a two-day cycling extravaganza that aims to provide a lasting legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Details of the festival, which will be held annually from 3-4 August 2013, first emerged in January during a speech by Mr Johnson at the World Economic Forum in Davos but in a presentation in the capital today, the full story was revealed.
With legacy the watchword, the event is aimed at cyclists of all abilities, from grassroots through to the elite and the planned rides and races reflect that.
It will be split into four events; the RideLondon Freecycle, which will open the festival on the Saturday, is aimed at people of all ages and abilities and will see participants ride an 8-mile route through central London on closed-roads for up to 70,000 people. It will replace The Mayor of London’s SkyRide.
Cyclists will be able to cycle as many or as few laps as they want and given its name, it’s free to enter. They will pass London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge in a unique opportunity on roads free of traffic.
The RideLondon Grand Prix is an invitational city centre criterium race with a focus on women’s elite, hand-cyclists and age group cyclists. It will attempt to showcase Olympic cyclists of the future and see racing around a 1.3-mile loop close to The Mall.
The RideLondon 100 is a 100-mile sportive style challenge on a closed-road route modelled on the Olympic road race and expected to attract up to 20,000 riders in the first year. It is expected that the event will be over-subscribed, so a ballot system will be used to allocate places.
Entry (£48) is open now and will close on either 4 January or when 75,000 people have entered, with successful applicants informed in February. The sportive will start in waves between 6am and 8am on 4 August 2013. Like the Cape Argus, a similarly-sized closed-road event in Cape Town, riders will be seeded according to ability to improve safety.
Finally, the RideLondon Classic will attract many of the world’s top pros and is expected to become part of the UCI’s race calendar when it’s announced in September. The classification of the race will be revealed at the same time.
Live TV coverage
It will be broadcast live on the BBC and will follow a variation of the Olympic road race route, following the same course as the RideLondon 100 with a route extension to meet UCI pro race requirements. The race will start after the RideLondon 100 at 12.30pm.
Both the 100 and Classic will depart from the Olympic Park in East London and finish on The Mall (subject to approval).
Following in footsteps of Olympic road race, London Marathon and Tour of Britain
Detailed routes for all four events will be revealed later in the year after the lessons from this summer’s Games have been learned. It’s being managed by the London & Surrey Cycling Partnership, a joint venture from the organisers of the London Marathon and The Tour of Britain, with organisers predicting a surge of visitors in excess of 200,000 over the weekend. They are hoping to draw on the experience of the London Marathon team to make it the largest charity fund-raising cycle race on the planet.
“Our challenge is to ensure that 2012 is just the start, not the end, of the benefits of hosting the Games,” said The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. “I urge every Londoner and cycle fanatics from all over the country, if not the world, to mark the weekend of 3 August 2013 in their diaries for what I believe will become one of the world’s number one cycling events.”
Brian Cookson OBE, President of British Cycling and UCI management committee member, added: “The Launch of RideLondon today is further proof that British Cycling’s Olympic legacy is already in place.
“It demonstrates there is now an unprecedented, mainstream demand for cycling events in this country. And our colleagues at the UCI know that British Cycling can be relied upon to produce not just competitors of the highest level, but also superbly organised events for cyclists of all levels of ability. None of this is a happy accident but the product of years of hard work.”
Registration to RideLondon 100 is open now and costs £48. You can sign-up at www.RideLondon.co.uk.
If you’re thinking about getting fit for RideLondon, then head over to BikeRadar Training. It’s a free online resource for you to record and analyse all aspects of your training, log your training routes, get yourself tailored training plans, take part in challenges, see how you’re doing on our leaderboards, set goals and plan your season with a comprehensive events guide.