The opening weekend of the London 2012 Olympic Games will see the Road Cycling race events hit the roads of London and Surrey on 28th July (men’s race) and 29th July (women’s race). The majority of the 120km route is free for spectators to watch, including parts of the loop circuit around Box Hill in the North Downs of Surrey.
Approximately 30km to the south west of London, Box Hill will provide a spectacular backdrop to the cycling races, with the male competitors to complete nine laps of the Surrey Downs circuit and the women to complete two laps.
In August of 2011 a test event saw cyclists do battle on the Olympic course in the London-Surrey Cycle Classic road race, with Great Britain's Mark Cavendish highlighting his gold medal prospects as the winner on that occasion.
The Olympic route commences (and concludes) on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, with the competitors making their way out of London to the south west, down Fulham Road and crossing the River Thames at Putney. The route then weaves through Richmond Park, also passing Hampton Court Palace before passing through Esher and Oxshott and eventually taking the competitors outside of the M25 and into the Surrey Hills.
Parts of the Box Hill circuit will be ticketed. The paying spectators will have a choice of imaginatively named viewing areas which reflect the abundance of local wildlife, such as Dormouse Drive, Butterfly Bend, Straw Belle Slope and Donkey Green - along the twisting and turning route of Zig Zag road. There will also be giant viewing screens on the open flat area at the top of Zig Zag road where fans can take in all the racing action.
Spectators with Box Hill tickets will have access to the best vantage points on the race route, but there will be no grandstands or seating.
Public facilities: As a London 2012 venue Box Hill will offer a range of services, including refreshment stands, the Games Mobility service, a London 2012 Shop and live audio commentary of the race in spectator areas.
History: Box Hill lies within the North Downs of the Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and has been popular with visitors from London and beyond since the 18th century.
What’s on?: Cycling – Road Races (28th & 29th July)
How do you get there?: Road and rail are the obvious choices. For the Donkey Green entrance take a train to Dorking or Dorking Deepdene stations and then it’s a one-hour walk to the venue, mostly uphill, or for the Old London Road entrance take the train to Box Hill & Westhumble station and then it will be a 30-minute walk to the venue.
The Park-and-walk facility will be available, but it is recommended to book in advance and check www.gosurrey.info for info on road closures and parking. It is then likely to be a walk of up to 40 minutes, mainly uphill.
Find it on the map: here.
Location – in relation to other venues: Roughly 30km to the south west of London, Box Hill sits in the Surrey Hills close to Dorking.