Going for gold in London 2012 - BikeBiz

Going for gold in London 2012

London has come from behind to secure the 2012 Olympic Games. The East End of London will get a brand new velodrome. Will the men's track kilometre and the women's 500m track time trial be seen there? Chris Hoy, the current kilo Olympic champion was one of the star athletes parading in Trafalgar Square before this lunchtime's presentations. He plans to compete in 2012 but will he and young British track cyclists be able to take part in the events ditched by the UCI? And what about the venues, where will BMX and MTBing be taking place?
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IOC members today voted for London as their city of choice to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

British Cycling’s chief executive Peter King welcomed the news:

”This is such great news for British sport and for our sport. For us at British Cycling, it ties in so well with our oft-stated aim of being the number one cycling nation by 2012. We now have the chance to demonstrate that in front of home crowds."

Sports minister Tessa Jowell, appointed the newly created Olympic minister after today's success for London, said sport will "become totally central to government policy" from now until 2012.

This could trickle down to child health, with more emphasis being placed on children's sport and children's fitness. A key way of making Britain a healthier nation would be to get more children cycling and walking to school so the Olympic bid success could see some trickle-down cash reaching safe routes to school type projects.

Team GB has an excellent cycle team, with youngsters like MTBer Liam Killeen and BMXer Shanaze Reade, likely to take part in both Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

Over the next seven years there will be increased emphasis in the UK on winning more gold medals than usual. Losing two track events was bad news for Team GB, as Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton were key hopes for Olympic golds in the 1000 and 500m track time trials.

Back in Singapore, IOC members are staying on to vote on which sports will be jettisoned from the Olympic programme altogether, and which will join.

IOC member Hein Verbruggen, president of the Union Cycliste Internationale, may be discussing the 'don't let track cycling die' petition with Olympic president, Jacques Rogge. By the end of the week, there's a slim chance that the IOC may have suggested to the UCI president that it would be a good idea to re-run the event cull survey of 24 cycle federations.

On the venue front, the Eastway circuit was already planned to make way for a £37m Velopark, containing a velodrome and a BMX track. This was to be built whether or not London won the 2012 Olympics.

The mountain bike cross country event will be held in the Weald Country Park, a 500-acre park in Essex. £5m will be spent transforming the park into a top-class MTB course, with seating for 3000 spectators. However, unlike the Velopark, the MTB venue will leave no legacy: it will be de-constructed after the Games.

If downhill mountain biking were introduced into the Olympics (and to do so more cycle events would have to be deleted), the Conservatives' sports spokesman, Jamie McGrigor, said Scotland could provide just the right course for the job:

"Fort William is already hosting the World Mountain Biking Championships in September and would seem ideal for any Olympic mountain bike competition," he said.

The road events will run through the streets of Hampstead and Regent's Park, along Highgate Road via Heath Street and Avenue Road before going to Oxford Circus and back to Regent's Park.

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