The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has bowed down to pressure from cycling fans across the UK and have announced that it will be increasing the spectator capacity for the 2012 Olympic road race.
Initial plans allowed for just 3,500 spectators at the important vantage point on the Zig Zag incline and on Donkey Green in Box Hill, Surrey. The spot has long been identified as the best place for fans to see the action, with the men's race set for nine loops round Box Hill and the women's race looping there twice. After consulting with the National Trust, LOCOG have confirmed a four-fold increase in capacity up to 15,000.
Box Hill is owned by the National Trust, who last year expressed concerns over the environmental impact of allowing large numbers of spectators to converge on the incline. But their reservations have been overcome by LOCOG's own thorough investigations.
"It's great news that so many people will be able to enjoy the races in this wonderful natural setting," said Andy Wright, the National Trust manager for Box Hill. "The surveys conducted by LOCOG are the most thorough ever carried out on this site and will really help us manage the habitat for the long term."
Work on clearing the site is scheduled to start on January 30.
“We are delighted to welcome people to watch the Olympic Road Race from the Zig Zag Road and Donkey Green at Box Hill," said Debbie Jevans, London 2012 director of sport. "We will give people the chance to see a generous amount of road race competition at one of the best stretches of road, which we are able to do following the test event and our learnings there. Spectators will have a unique viewing position on the route, and there is another 120km of route which is free to spectators, including some great points through London and the Royal Parks.”
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