Surrey to get back in the saddle with post-Olympics cycling festival
2:10pm Tuesday 31st January 2012 in
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Pedal power is set to rule in Surrey next year with the announcement of a cycling festival.
For a year after the Olympics cyclists’ events venture into Reigate and Banstead borough, looping Box Hill and drawing in what is expected to be massive crowds at the roadsides, the county will
again be welcoming thousands of bike fans.
The event will be a two-day festival of cycling building on the legacy of this year’s London Games, to be held in August 2013.
It will be the first large-scale event to use the Olympic Park when it reopens after the Games.
Outlining the plans for London and Surrey to host the ambitious event in a speech to business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said it is
expected that it will bring up to 35,000 cyclists to the county. A launch event to celebrate the announcement was also held in London.
Denise Saliagopoulos, Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for community services and the 2012 Games, said: “We are delighted to be working with London to build on the 2012 Olympic legacy.”
Coun Saliagopoulos said: “The festival will add to Surrey’s growing reputation as a top cycling destination.
“It will drive tourism, boost the Surrey economy and I’m sure people will love the chance to get involved in such an exciting event.”
She said: “Surrey will be the cycling capital of the UK when we host the Olympic road races and cycling time trial.
“This event will help us build on the Olympic legacy. It’s going to be fantastic.
“It will allow cycling enthusiasts like Boris Johnson to follow in the tracks of Olympic greats.
“It will drive tourism, boost the Surrey economy and encourage residents to get on their bikes and lead healthier lifestyles.”
The first day of the festival will involve a family fun ride for up to 70,000 cyclists on an eight-mile loop of roads around London landmarks.
On the second day, up to 35,000 amateur and world class elite cyclists will tackle a 100-mile course that will begin in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, and be based on much of the route
of the Olympic road race, incorporating Surrey.
Mr Johnson said the weekend festival could attract more than 200,000 visitors from outside the capital to London for the weekend, and generate tens of millions of pounds in economic benefit.
Organisers hope the festival will become an annual international event.
Iain Edmondson, head of major events at London and Partners, and the project director for the festival of cycling, said: “After months of planning and feasibility studies, we are now ready to seek
proposals from the world’s best event organisers to deliver this world class event.
“They will have the support and resources from partners across the city and Surrey to make this exciting vision a reality.”
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