BBC to showcase RideLondon – "the greatest cycling event in the world"
Friday, 10 August 2012
August 10 - RideLondon, a two-day world class festival of cycling that will be the first direct sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympics, will make its debut on the weekend of August 3 next year showcased by the BBC, who have agreed a five-year contract to cover an event that aspires to create a "London Marathon on wheels".
After paying tribute to the exploits of a British cycling team – "Team GB has won more gold medals in cycling than Australia has in everything else put together" – Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, announced: "This is the moment, is it not, for the great leap forward in cycling, and so we are going to have the greatest weekend cycling event in the world in what is fast becoming the greatest city on earth."
The event will include a mix of elite events and mass participation racing over an eight-mile circuit and a 100-mile circuit, and has been set up by London Marathon and SweetSpot under the banner of the London & Surrey Cycling Partnership.
Speaking at the launch here, double Olympic champion Laura Trott commented: "When I was inspired to start cycling by people like Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins, I didn't know where to go at first and ended up looking for a local club.
"This event, with all its closed roads, will make it a lot easier for people and families who want to start up in the sport.
"It's a good way for everyone to get into cycling."
Hugh Brasher, race director of the Virgin London Marathon, added: "In 1980 my father, Chris Brasher, sat down with John Disley and Sir Horace Cutler, the leader of the GLC (Greater London Council), and announced the arrival of the London Marathon.
"That was a vision where the sport of running came together.
"Now I am able to sit and announce an inspiring sports event for cycling that is a huge legacy of the London Olympics."
The RideLondon FreeCycle is a mass participation event for new, lapsed and family riders, with up to 70,000 participants on an iconic circuit with eight miles in central London.
"The closed road circuit will provide a unique, safe, relaxed and inclusive atmosphere."
RideLondon 100 is the Olympic legacy event, cycling's answer to the London Marathon, on a 100-mile route from the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park finishing in Central London, on totally closed roads.
It is a challenge race, with up to 20,000 participants expected in the first year, rising to 35,000 participants by year five and the potential to be the largest cycling fundraising event in the world.
The Mayor, who naturally arrived at this launch on his bike, has confirmed that he plans to take part in RideLondon 100 next year.
RideLondon Classic will feature an elite field of around 150 international pro-riders from the world's top teams, competing on primarily the Olympic Road Race route – a 140-160 mile stage, starting in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park between 12.00 - 13.00, finishing on the Mall at around 17.15 - 17.30, with three hours of BBC coverage, including at least two hours live, and aiming for World Tour Classification by 2016.
"I think this will build to be the biggest single day classic in the world bar none," said Mick Bennett, organiser of the Tour of Britain which will feature Britain's Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, and a member of the London & Surrey Cycling Partnership.
RideLondon Grand Prix is a curtain raiser for the RideLondon Classic, and RideLondon 100, held on 1.3 mile circuit next to the finish, with elite women's races, youth and hand cyclists.
The deal gives the BBC exclusive United Kingdom broadcast rights for five years.
Barbara Slater, BBC director of sport, said: "Following the amazing success of the London 2012 Olympics and with increasing participation in cycling at the heart of the Olympic legacy we're delighted to be the broadcast partner of the Ride London event.
"Building on what has been a hugely successful Olympic Games this new event will be a wonderful showcase for cycling – starting in the Olympic Park it will feature a combination of both elite races and a mass participation fun ride."
Nick Bitel, chief executive of the Virgin London Marathon, said: "The BBC has been a vital partner of the London Marathon since it started in 1981, and its unrivalled coverage is a key ingredient of the event's success and popularity, not only in Britain but across the world, so we are naturally delighted with this additional agreement with the BBC for our new event, RideLondon, which we hope will ultimately enjoy a similar high profile as the marathon, particularly as RideLondon develops over the coming years.
"We already know from our charity partners that this event will be a great opportunity to raise funds for British charities, and we will aim to make this the world's largest charity fund-raising cycle event, so are naturally very pleased that this will be showcased to a global audience via the BBC."
Details of the timings and presenters of the live coverage of RideLondon will be announced in the New Year.
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