The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) today announced the venue for the Paralympic Road Cycling events incorporating Road Race and Time Trial.
Brands Hatch near Sevenoaks, Kent, will host the Paralympic Road Cycling events which will take place from 5 to 8 September 2012.
The riders will race round a course that passes through the Kent county and the district of Sevenoaks in Kent. The former F1 Grand Prix circuit at Brands Hatch will be the base of approximately half of the course including the start and finish. The remaining race will take place on local roads nearby.
This announcement marks the final venue to be confirmed for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and pays homage to Brands Hatch’s cycling routes, as it first developed in the 1920s as a grass track cycle racing venue.
The course was chosen after extensive consultation with the relevant local authorities and stakeholders to find a route that will provide an outstanding experience for both athletes and spectators. It will also allow LOCOG to use much of the existing venue infrastructure at Brands Hatch and is within approximately one hour’s travel time of the Athletes’ Village on the Olympic Park.
Requirements for the Paralympic Road Cycling course are very precise – the course has to be suitable and challenging for a wide variety of disability groups. The requirements are based on a loop course of 7-10km, which is completed a different number of times based on the event distance. Approximately 25% of the course is uphill sections of not more than 6% gradient and the route includes some challenging bends or technical sections, whilst the road width is adequate to allow for bunch sprints in the finish straight.
During the London 2012 Paralympic Games there will be 32 Road Cycling events for men and women with a range of disabilities including visual impairments, cerebral palsy and amputations competing on bicycles, tricycles, tandems and hand cycles.
225 (155 male and 70 female) athletes from around 40 nations will participate in the Road Cycling events, which will consist of mass start road races ranging from 30km to 120km and individual and team time trials ranging from 20km to 35km.
The events will be ticketed in large part, but part of the route will be free for spectators to line the route providing a fantastic way of watching high profile action. Tickets will cost £10 and there will also be Special Price tickets available (£5 for 16 and under and 60 and over) as well as Group Organiser tickets for large groups which would see them receive additional tickets at no extra cost.
Seb Coe, Chair of LOCOG said: ‘We are thrilled to be bringing such a high profile and exciting Paralympic sport here to Brands Hatch. This will help us extend the Games outside London and will give spectators and athletes the chance to discover yet another stunning part of our country. Our ParalympicsGB cycling team won 20 medals at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008, including 17 gold, and I hope that today’s announcement will inspire and excite our Paralympians about competing here in under 500 days time. This venue will really bring the magic of the Games to life for thousands of spectators.’
Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, said: 'This is fantastic news for the people of Kent who will be able to watch some of the world’s greatest Paralympic athletes compete on their doorstep. Brands Hatch is one of the country’s most historic racing venues so I delighted that it will have a role in the UK’s greatest ever sporting event.'
Pat McQuaid, President of the Union Cycliste Internationale said: ‘The UCI are delighted with Brands Hatch as the location for the London 2012 Paralympic Road Cycling events. The combination of the motor racing circuit and local roads combine to provide a circuit that challenges the athletes and one that will undoubtedly create some spectacular races and worthy winners next summer.’
Rachel Morris, Paralympic gold medallist said: 'I'm extremely excited to potentially be competing at Brands Hatch. Winning another gold medal but on home soil this time would just be fantastic. The course looks great and it will be a real test for athletes, promising a great show for spectators. I can't wait to give it my best shot in under 500 days time.'
Kent County Council Cabinet member for Customer and Communities Cllr Mike Hill said: "This really has been a week of celebrations in Kent. We had the announcement earlier this week that the Olympic torch will be coming to Kent and the excitement is really mounting now as we celebrate that the official Paralympic road cycling event will be taking place right here in the county. It is a real credit to all the hard work which is going on behind the scenes helping Kent be part of this world event and giving residents the chance to get involved."
Cllr Peter Fleming, the Leader of Sevenoaks District Council, says: “We are thrilled and excited to host such a prestigious international event in the Sevenoaks District. Together with our partners we have worked hard to put everything in place for this competition for the world’s best Paralympic cyclists. I hope by coming to our District, the Paralympic Games will inspire both disabled and able-bodied people. It certainly promises to be a unique experience for our residents and we look forward to giving a warm welcome to competitors and spectators alike."
Jonathan Palmer, Chief Executive of MotorSport Vision: ‘I am absolutely delighted Brands Hatch has been chosen by LOCOG as the venue for the Road Cycling events at the 2012 Paralympic Games. This famous race circuit is ideally suited, being close to London, having a fabulous undulating track and regularly handling large crowds. In fact Brands Hatch began in 1928 as a cycle racing track so it is very appropriate to have cycle competition returning to Brands Hatch on a major scale as part of the 2012 Paralympic Games. Brands Hatch is synonymous with competition on two wheels and four and it is a privilege for it to be the host venue for the world’s best Paralympic athletes to display their outstanding talent and determination.’