Boris Johnson has unveiled a two-day festival of cycling, including a fun ride, 100-mile sportive-style event, criterium races, and an elite-level Classic as the sport’s legacy from the London Olympic Games.
Mr Johnson, flanked by double Olympic gold medalist, Laura Trott, unveiled plans for Ride London, which will be held for the first time next year on August 3 and 4.
“This will be the greatest cycle weekend in the world in what is fast becoming the greatest cycling city on earth.
“I think it will be a wonderful thing for our city. I can’t believe we haven’t tried it before. I don’t know why we haven’t tried it before,” said Mr Johnson.
The weekend will start on Saturday August 3 with the Freecycle fun ride, with organisers expecting up to 70,000 people to ride the eight-mile, close- road loop past landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, and Buckingham Palace.
The three remaining events will be held on Sunday August 4.
Some 20,000 cyclists will set off from The Mall between 6am and 8am on a modified version of the Olympic road race course for the ‘RideLondon100’ sportive-style event.
A ballot will be held to deal with the expected over-subscription, and participants will be seeded to ensure all finish within nine hours.
Hugh Brasher, son of London Marathon co-founder, Chris, will be event director.
He told today’s press conference: “We are still in the middle of this amazing Olympics where London has shown to the sports world what it can do, and this event will be something similar.”
While the London100 unfolds, the Grand Prix series of Criterium races for juniors, hand cyclists, and women will be held on a 1.3 mile circuit on closed roads in St James Park, close to the start-finish line for the RideLondon Classic.
The SweetSpot Group, organisers and promoters of the Tour of Britain, will take charge of the elite race, the RideLondon Classic, for which they hope to gain accreditation from the sport’s world governing body, the UCI.
Mick Bennett, race director of the Tour of Britain, and technical director of SweetSpot, pledged to make the RideLondon Classic the biggest single-day race in the world.
He revealed that Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins will ride the Tour of Britain this September, and said squads like the duo’s Sky Pro Cycling team would be encouraged to sign up for the RideLondon Classic during the race.
“The Tour of Britain is the ninth to the 16th of September and this couldn’t be better positioned to help promote Ride London. It will give us an opportunity to talk to speak to those teams, encourage those teams, and try and get the sign up very, very early.
“I’ve been in the sport, promoting and organizing professional cycle racing for many, many years. This will be and will build to be the biggest single day classic. We used to do single day Classics here many, many years ago as part of the World Cup.
“I am absolutely convinced with the marriage that the London Marathon and Sweetspot have, this will build to be the biggest single day Classic in the world bar none,” he said.