Kingston is to be put on the Olympic map as both the male and female cycling road races pass through it.

Olympic road race to pass through Kingston

The event is set to be held in the opening week of the 2012 Olympic Games, and will see cyclists pass Hampton Court Palace, go over Kingston Bridge and continue on to Walton and Weybridge. The stretch will represent about 3.2 km of the 250km epic.

At Olympic speeds the cyclists are expected to grace Kingston with their presence for about four minutes, before winding their way onwards towards the Mall in central London.

Despite the brevity of their Kingston visit, the event is expected to bring about a boom for local businesses. Surrey County Council is estimating that benefits of £40m could accrue for the area, with extra visitor spending, tourism and television exposure during the races. This forms part of the enormous £1bn that the South East as a whole expects to rake in as a result of the games.

The road race will also give the residents of Kingston the chance to catch a glimpse of a medal favourite in action. Mark Cavendish, a former world and Commonwealth gold medallist on the track, is now trying his hand at road racing.

Having won five stages of the Tour De France in 2010, unprecedented for a British cyclist, and regarded as the fastest sprint cyclist in the world, he heads into the games with a real chance of collecting a gold.

The announcement that the event will pass through Kingston has created ripples of excitement through the local cycling community. James Beaumont of Kingston Wheelers said: “This will be one of the rare sporting events to take place outside of a stadium or an official venue and for residents it is great to see the games go beyond East London. As for encouraging cycling, it is a positive step.”

A trial run of the course will be held on Sunday, 14 August in Kingston, allowing the cyclists to familiarise themselves with the route and giving local residents a chance to come to grips with the resultant road closures and traffic restrictions.

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