Box Hill, London-Surrey Cycle Classic 2011

The Italian women's road team came to the UK today to ride the Olympic road race route in Surrey, only to get turned away at the bottom of Box Hill.

Six riders, their coach and current world champion Giorgia Bronzini (who wasn't riding) had travelled over especially to ride Box Hill, but when they got to the Olympic parcours' crucial section, they weren't allowed up.

Resurfacing work is still ongoing on the 2.5km climb. It was due to be completed yesterday but a workman told local cyclist Dave Kennett that they were now hoping to be finished by the end of the week, but that depended on the weather.

The Italian team coach tried in vain to get his riders past the work force, saying they had spent €10,000 on travelling over to specifically ride the climb, but they couldn't get through. "There are other hills" came the reply from the workman.

With no test event for the female pros, their only chance to ride the climb has come in training. Several riders have been seen riding the route already this spring, and that is set to continue once the resurfacing works are complete.

The Italians eventually gave in and turned and rode back down to the A24 before turning right up towards Leatherhead and then Headley. But that wasn't the end of their troubles.

No doubt worried about the lack of courtesy shown to cyclists on the roads in the south east, the riders' coach drove behind the group. Eventually the Police saw the traffic building up behind the minibus, pulled him over and instructed him to drive on ahead and wait.

The German men's team is supposed to be visiting Box Hill tomorrow for their recce of the climb and could also leave disappointed. Team GB couldn't have planned it better if they'd tried.

The Italian women checking out part of the Olympic route. Picture courtesy of Dave Kennett

Resurfacing works are still ongoing due to the recent bad weather. Picture courtesy of Dave Kennett

A lovely bit of brand new tarmac at the bottom of Box Hill. Picture courtesy of Dave Kennett

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Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. He fell in love with cycling when channel surfing in 1989 and happening across the greatest ever edition of the Tour de France. He's been a Greg LeMond fan ever since. He started racing in 1995 when moving to university in North Wales gave him more time to train and some amazing roads to train on. He raced domestically for several years, riding everything from Surrey leagues to time trials, track and even a few Premier Calendars. In 2000 he spent one season racing in Belgium with the Kingsnorth International Wheelers. 


Since working for Cycling Weekly he has written product reviews, fitness features, pro interviews, race coverage and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. He can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer but he still hasn't completed the CW5000 challenge!


SIMON IS CURRENTLY RIDING

Road bike: Pinarello K8S with Shimano Dura Ace

TT bike: Specialized Venge road bike with FFWD wheels and Easton Attack TT bars

Gravel bike: N/A

Training bike: Rourke custom hand made with Reynolds 853 steel