The men’s and women’s 2012 Olympic Games time trial routes were unveiled by the London Organising Committee at Hampton Court Palace this afternoon.
Both races, to be held on August 1 2012, will start and finish on the Palace grounds, although the single-lap course differs for each event.
The 29km women’s race will start at 10am, followed by the 44km men’s three hours later, with riders setting off at 90-second intervals. The men’s race will initially run south after departing from Henry VIII’s former residence into Elmbridge.
The riders will then take in a loop around the Knights and Bessborough Reservoirs, before heading south towards Esher Green. The course then runs towards Hersham and Cobham, in what the organisers describe as the “hillier section” of the race.
Riders will soon head north again, passing through Esher once more, before entering Kingston-upon-Thames and Kingston town centre. Upon continuing through Richmond, Teddington Vale and Strawberry Vale, the course turns south through Bushy Park before finishing on Hampton Court Way.
After leaving the Palace, the women’s course runs immediately towards Esher, instead of looping around West Molesey. The closing kilometres are also different, as the route heads west after travelling over Kingston Bridge, before the riders pass along Hampton Court Road towards he finish.
All tickets for both events are completely free, including those located by the finish line and podium area.
Seb Coe, chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, was pleased with the routes for both races, and feels that fans are in for an exciting day’s action.
He said: “Hampton Court Palace is a stunning venue, and we have worked closely with the UCI and our partners to ensure that we have the best possible sporting course for the athletes.”
“We are confident of spectacular races and worthy winners,” he added.
Emma Pooley, who was born in nearby Wandsworth, will look to go one better than her silver medal she picked up inthe event in Beijing. Pooley, who will be 29 at the time of the games, won the World Championship time trial on an undulating course in Geelong, Australia last year, and this route should suit her.
“It is interesting to now know the time trial course for London and I’m looking forward to training especially for it,” said Pooley. “Hampton Court Palace is a beautiful part of London and it will be a great event for spectators.”
With only one rider per country permitted to ride, many predict that Team Sky’s Alex Dowsett will be selected for the men’s event.
Dowsett was at today’s press launch, and has already set his sights on Olympic glory. “The big goal is to go there. I don’t see any reason why I can’t be there, and be competitive too,”
“It definitely suits me, with few corners. There’s not many stretches where raw power comes into it.”
Organisers have worked with the UCI and local authorities to choose a route that, it says, will provide “an outstanding experience for athletes and spectators.”
See this week’s Cycling Weekly for more details and reaction to today’s announcement.