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UCI wants more spectacle on London Olympic courses

By:
Peter Cossins
Published:
September 08, 2009, 10:39 BST,
Updated:
September 08, 2009, 11:21 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The crowds in London came out in full force and the police had everything under control.

The crowds in London came out in full force and the police had everything under control.

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Tour, Beijing set a high bar for London organisers

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has asked the organiser of the road events at the 2012 London Olympic Games to change the proposed road race course in order to include more of London’s most renowned landmarks. As things stand, the London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOCOG) had proposed a circuit based that rose from Regent's Park to Primrose Hill and Kentish Town, and then up Highgate West Hill to Hampstead Heath.

The UCI would prefer to see a course more in line with 2008 Oympic Games in Beijing, which started in Tiananmen Square and took in sections of the Great Wall of China, or the London prologue of the 2007 Tour de France. That course featured many of central London’s most famous sights including the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the UCI would like to see a route featuring Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, then heading west out of London to Windsor Castle and Eton College. From there, the riders would return to central London via the Surrey Downs for a finishing circuit.

If LOCOG complies with the UCI’s request the nature of the road race is likely to change completely. The possible removal of Highgate’s West Hill would certainly please sprinters such as Mark Cavendish, who would be hotly favoured on a course finishing on a flattish circuit in central London.

“We are in discussions with the UCI about what this route might be and will undergo full consultation about any proposed changes in due course,” a LOCOG spokesman told the Daily Telegraph. A decision on the final route for the road race is expected by the end of the year.

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