Brands Hatch has been chosen as the host venue for the Road Cycling events during the London 2012 Paralympics. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) announced the news at a jointly held press conference at the Kent circuit.
Brands is the final venue to be unveiled in both the Olympic and Paralympic line-up and the former F1 circuit joins a list of prestigious venues from across the UK, such as Wembley Arena, Wimbledon and Lords Cricket Ground.
The Road Cycling course will start at Brands Hatch, go out into the local roads, before returning to the circuit for the finish. The circuit was chosen as the venue after consultation with the local authorities to find a route that will provide an outstanding experience for both athletes and spectators, as well as meeting the requirements for the event, with the course needing to be challenging for a wide variety of disability groups, including technical sections and adequate road width to allow for bunch sprints in the finish straight.
The London 2012 Paralympic Games is set to host 32 Road Cycling events between 5th and 8th September, seeing men and women competing on bicycles, tricycles, tandems and hand cycles. 225 athletes from around 40 nations will participate in the events, which will range from road races between 30km and 120km in length, and time trials lasting 20km to 35km.
LOCOG chairman Lord Sebastian Coe 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 Paralympics GB 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.”
Jonathan Palmer, Chief Executive of Brands Hatch owner MotorSport Vision, added: “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.”
The Road Cycling event at Brands Hatch will be ticketed in large part, costing £10, although part of the route will be free, allowing local residents to watch high profile Olympic action for nothing.