Despite a third night of rioting in London, LOGOC today reassured Cycling Weekly that Sunday’s London-Surrey Cycle Classic, the test event for next year’s Olympic road race, will go ahead as planned.

Being so close to the event, it would have been a shame if all the preparations for the race – some good, some bad, it has to be said – were ruined by the mindless acts of violence that have taken place across the capital since Saturday.

Hopefully, what’s happened these past three days does not stop people from lining the route of this weekend’s race, which sets out from The Mall at 9am.

If anything, it’s going to be the event’s publicity campaign that will detract people from cheering on what is arguably the best field to race on British soil since the Tour de France visited four years ago.

Instead of promoting that fact (or even publicising the race positively), both the print and radio advertisements centre around likely disruption that is likely to occur.

Olympic test event, newspaper advert

Print advert as printed in the Evening Standard, August 8.

The way the above advert reads, the tone is almost critical of those competing, even suggesting that they’re to blame for the travel problems.

Furthermore, on its website, Transport for London (which admittedly describes the race as an “interesting spectacle) lists information on how to watch the race after comprehensive details of road closures, travel restrictions and bus diversions.

Why isn’t Mark Cavendish mentioned at all? Why haven’t TfL, who are notorious for spin when it comes to things like the Jubilee Line, identified the race as a good thing, particularly when they’re so eager to promote the London Cycle Hire Scheme and Cycle Superhighways? Why does it seem like the race is being treated as an inconvenience?

Mark Cavendish, Tour de France 2011, stage 17

Chance missed? Cavendish has pulling power

When Take That played eight nights at Wembley Stadium this summer, the story was about their record-breaking ticket sales. No-one mentioned the logistical difficulty of 60,000 converging on the area on a daily basis.

82,000 fans travel to Twickenham for rugby fixtures, 60,000 head to the Emirates Stadium in North London to watch Arsenal play. Thousands queue to get tickets for Wimbledon. Yes, the roads may become busy and public transport crowded. But it’s the downside to the staging of popular events in big cities.

Yes, it’s good that TfL have put such lengthy contingency plans in place to attempt to minimise disruption for residents, but combined with LOCOG’s recent narrow focus on restricting access to Box Hill and The Mall, it seems that they’ve forgotten about the bigger picture.

And that’s not good for the riders, the teams or cycling fans.

Related links

Business as usual for LOCOG ahead of test event

Strong field announced for Olympic test event

Box Hill declared limited access for Olympic road race

Olympic road race route announced

  • Amazed

    Big congratulations to the organisers of yesterdays “let’s bring London to a grinding halt event”. Big congratulations especially to whoever decided to bus in a bunch of out of town uninformed idiots who didn’t have maps, radios, information of alternative routes and didn’t know the locations of little known areas and landmarks of London such as Hammersmith, Earls Court, the M4 motorway and the River Thames.

    If this is what we can expect next summer from Livingstone’s vanity project then London will be a fine place to be next summer…

  • Adam

    ” MEMEMEMEME. ‘It’s is stopping ME doing x so it shouldn’t be happening’.

    Heaven forbid some people had to plan their journeys or, shock horror, park near their destination and walk a short distance. I wonder why there’s so much obesity in this country. ”

    This is a bit of a small-minded view grizzlery. Some people would have been severely disrupted by this. The fact is that for people living in my area of Molesey (a town of 18,000 people between Walton-on-thames and Hampton Court), there was no simple way of getting north of the river. Due to route-design, both Hampton Court bridge and Walton bridge were closed to road traffic, thus making it impossible for residents of my area from getting north of the river.

    Since Walton bridge was not actually used by the riders, I do not see why the route had to go passed that bridge. If they had sent the route a little further south then that bridge could’ve been opened. As it were, if someone in Molesey had to get to Heathrow on Sunday, the most likely route would have been to go down towards the A3 at Cobham, down to the M25 and then all the way up from there, most likely doubling journey distance. That is an unacceptable inconvenience so that a few bikes can ride around for a bit.

    The other unacceptable thing is the time for which the roads were closed. Hurst Road in Molesey was closed at 6am and did not re-open til 2-3pm. So there was an 8-hour road closure for a few bikes that passed through in a 5 minute period around 10am. I don’t care whether or not is was a good day out (5 minutes of ‘hurrah’ isn’t really a day out), the road closures were simply proposterous and only serve to re-affirm my belief in the outstanding incompetence in the planning of these Olympics.

    I am not looking to start an argument, merely to state my opinion. As you can tell I am a little aggrieved by the whole issue, but we all are entitled to state our thoughts.

  • PJ

    Lycra Louts take over London. Cyclist once again prove to be THE most selfish road users.
    Sunday is a massivley important day for trade – you know the collection of VAT to pay for schools and hospitals etc.

    Sure who does’nt like riding a bike and buying lots of gear.
    BUT for heaven’s sake the economy is on its knees – and the most affluent areas in Lonon were denied the chance to trade. 30% of a weeks taking gone – 30 jobs threatended. All for a few people who wanted to play out on thier bikes – pathetic.

  • grizzlery

    MEMEMEMEME. ‘It’s is stopping ME doing x so it shouldn’t be happening’.

    Heaven forbid some people had to plan their journeys or, shock horror, park near their destination and walk a short distance. I wonder why there’s so much obesity in this country.

    I live on the route and thought it was a great (and free) family day out.

  • SuJoh

    Who cares? TFL don’t influence my opinion – am not a cyclist but LOVED the fact that this came through my village (West Horsley). Am only troubled by the fact that the cyclists must think our whole village smells of bacon – there were so many bacon butty breakfast events along the route.

    Lovely lovely morning – every generation was lining the route. waving to the support vehicles and cheering like mad when the cyclists shot past (at least we git two groups). It gave us a chance to practice for next year. Time to take shares in a bacon company.

    TFL can be as negative as they like – they are out of step with the British people 🙂

  • Roger

    I’ve spent the morning marshalling on the event as one of the many Olympic volunteers, and whilst some of the roads were still closed, much too long after the event has passed by, generally the local communities seemed quite excited about the whole thing and what’s to come next year. There were a few dissenting voices but that will always happen. The police support was excellent and after recent events in London is was good to have something to enjoy on a summers day.

  • vicky

    I live in Twickenham – on the route – and yes, rugby match days can be a bit chaotic but they don’t involve the kind of extensive road closures that this cycle race has. I didn’t have anywhere to be today so I’m fine with it. But it would have been impossible to get anywhere by car or public transport from here this morning and so it will have been incredibly disruptive to the people that did have to be somewhere, not to mention to the businesses that won’t have got any trade because all the roads are closed. Maybe it’s a small price to pay for the Olympics, but TFL have done this the right way. People need to know their options. Many, many people don’t care about sport and there’s really no reason why they should. I’ve just googled and looked on facebook for a page for the event…nothing. Maybe the organisers should have taken some responsibility for that. There’s no point blaming Boris!

  • Mike Davis

    I have little interest in cycling. I am somewhat frustrated having difficulty travelling to Dorking, Guildford, and Kingston from Epsom because of the road closures. Even travelling into London is fraught with road closures around The Mall, etc. However, I do understand why the event is taking place and no doubt I will be out to see the cyclists later.
    I believe there could be a public back lash when the fact so few Londoners were able to purchase tickets for Olympic events is taken into consideration.
    It is difficult to travel anywhere in this part of Surrey today.

    I trust the above observations are helpful.

    Mike Davis

  • US Matt

    “Why does it seem like the race is being treated as an inconvenience? ”

    Because it IS an inconvenience. Many people won’t be able to go about their business most of the day. This event goes beyond dealing with crowds or congestion. Many people won’t be able to go anywhere at all. I won’t be able to get to church in the morning. I’m excited the route passes through my village, but for those who are not interested, it is a major hassle for them.

  • david clarke

    Just been walking on Box Hill. Shocked! The 2 metre wall of fences snaking across the hill reminded me of communist eastern europe in the cold war, and just to keep cycling fans away from their sport. You won’t persuade me that the men and machinery needed to erect these fortifications right across the hill have done less damage to the SSI than a few cycling fans lining the roadside for a couple of hours. Scandalous – without even mentioning the potholes.

  • Steven Drew

    I’m with Bob on this. It’s not TfL’s responsibility ot promote the event. Why aren’t LOCOG telling people about it? They’ve got some of the world’s best cyclists arriving on their doorstep for a morning of brilliant entertainment. And it’s free! Perfect for the summer holidays and to get more Londoners enthused for this beautiful sport. Another wasted opportunity, just like the route.

  • Keira

    I agree with Bob Thornton. It isn’t up to TfL to publicise the event – they are solely responsible for how people travel around the capital. If they didn’t warn about road closures etc then many would complain.

    I really can’t see which part of that advert is critical of those taking part. It is simply stating a number of facts. This is a complete non-story.

    It would have been better to see the race organisers plugging the event in the same publications. I for one will be coming into town to make the most of the chance to wave off Cav and co.

  • Bob Thornton

    To be fair to TfL, they’re responsible for transport, not for promoting the Olympics. It’s their job to warn people about disruption, delays and the like. Signs warning about the London Marathon road closures don’t tend to big up Paula Radcliffe. I

  • Mike Cope

    Event should be cancelled –it s only a bike race . Right now there are bigger priorities .

    What IS it about Box Hill anyway ? It s no challenge for the pro s .

    Boris s” public activity” on cycling should not be confused with progress !

  • arthur franks

    As I said in a previous comment on this whole fiasco, we should all boycott it. That way our feelings will be driven home. DEspite Boris’ sounding out about bikes it is all a hollow drum.

  • Reg Oakley

    I am passionately pro cycling, but using Box Hill in this way is just plain wrong.
    There are plenty more challenging climbs in Surrey and Kent. If it really was meant to be a challenging road race, then it should have been away from London.
    The sailors arent sailing in the Thames.

  • George

    Maybe it’s because Brad Wiggins criticised Boris’ bikes on the news? They can’t really say this cycling event is going to cause SEVERE delays when their staff (London Underground) have done worse