London 2012 organisers have revealed details of the Olympic time trial course, which will start and finish at Hampton Court Palace.
The men’s field will contest a 44km course, while the women’s event will run over a 29km route, with riders setting off every 90 seconds.
Both courses immediately cross the River Thames over Hampton Court Bridge, towards Esher and Cobham, before heading back into London, through Kingston, where the women turn for home and the men embark on their extra 15km, out to Richmond, into Bushey Park and through Molesey before the final furlong back to Henry VIII’s former home.
The time trial will take place on August 1, the fifth day of the Games, and three and four days after the women’s and men’s races respectively.
The original road race route, which featured Regent’s Park and Hampstead Heath, was shelved after the UCI asked for a more demanding course – but president Pat McQuaid insists cycling’s governing body is happy with the time trial course.
“The UCI is very pleased with this time trial course for both men and women,” said McQuaid. “It has a wonderful historical backdrop for the start and finish in Hampton Court Palace and the route covers some wonderful rolling Surrey countryside which is both physically and technically demanding. This will ensure the Olympic medals are well merited.”
London 2012 chairman Lord Sebastian Coe added: “Hampton Court Palace is a stunning venue that will showcase the area. We have worked closely with the UCI and our partners to ensure that we have the best possible sporting course for the athletes and we are confident of spectacular races and worthy winners.
“Following Team GB’s medal success in Beijing, the road cycling events really will bring the magic of the Games to life for many thousands of spectators.”
Great Britain’s Emma Pooley will start among the favourites after claiming silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, before upgrading to world gold in Melbourne last year, and has now set her sights on training time on the London 2012 route.
“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.”