Boris Johnson to start UK's biggest ever cycling event
1 Aug 2013, 4:04 p.m.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will start the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 mass-participation cycling sportive on Sunday morning. It is set to be the largest cycling event ever held in the UK, and the Mayor will drop a Union Flag to set around 20,000 cyclists on their way from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at 06:00 before tackling the route himself.
The Mayor will be riding on behalf of his own ‘Team Boris’, a 36-strong troupe of riders, who are aiming to raise £25,000 for his three charities by completing the testing 100-mile challenge through the streets of London and Surrey.
Johnson has already ridden part of the route during his training, including the two lung-busting Surrey climbs of Leith Hill and Box Hill.
“I’m sure I can do it, but I’m not sure how quickly I can do it,” said Johnson. “I have been up Leith Hill forwards and backwards, up and down, and Box Hill no problem.
“I am fairly confident I can get round, but how fast I can do it is another matter. I’m a pretty cautious London cyclist, not a speed merchant. The chiselled whippet is yet to emerge.”
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 – the largest inaugural mass-participation timed event in the world – is one of four events that make up the first Prudential RideLondon festival, set to attract some 70,000 cyclists onto the roads of London and Surrey over two action-packed days.
The weekend will start with the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle on Saturday morning, when 50,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities are expected to fill eight miles of traffic-free central London streets.
That will be followed by the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix, a series of sprint races around St James’s Park for professional women, handcyclists and youth riders. The races will be started by British Paralympian, Jody Cundy, who won gold in the time trial at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
On Sunday, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 will be followed by the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, a 140-mile road race between some of the top professional men’s teams in the world.
The riders will be set on their way from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at 12:45 by David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council, before racing through the streets of east London, the City and Westminster, then out through Richmond Park and Kingston Upon Thames to the rolling hills of Surrey before returning for a spectacular finish on The Mall.