THE biggest road event London has seen since the Olympics saw more than 20,000 cyclists set off on a 100-mile race yesterday.
Lord Mayor Boris Johnson waved off the cyclists and then joined his wife Marina and Team Boris to take part in the gruelling event through London and Surrey on a similar route to that taken in last year’s Olympic road races.
Speaking on the finish line on The Mall, Mr Johnson said: “Huge congratulations to everyone who took part – RideLondon is now firmly on the map as one of the greatest cycling events in the world.”
Rugby World Cup winner Matt Dawson, two-time Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell, the first of the celebrities to finish, former Olympic champion sprint hurdler Sally Gunnell and actor Gary Kemp were among the famous faces who took part in the event held as part of a two-day festival of cycling to help build a lasting legacy of the 2012 games.
Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Joanna Rowsell said she was “gutted” not to be involved after breaking her collar bone during one of four events, as part of the Prudential RideLondon weekend.
The Grand Prix event, which saw competitors race a circuit in and around St James’s Park, was won by Rowsell’s teammate Laura Trott.
Meanwhile, more than 10,000 events are taking place across the country as part of Join In, which aims to encourage people to volunteer at sports clubs and community groups.
They include hundreds of events in Yorkshire hosted by clubs and groups – everything from climbing sessions in Harrogate to canoeing in York and a guided cycle ride in Wakefield – until September 9, when the closing ceremony for last year’s Games was held.
On Sunday Olympics gold medallist Luke Campbell will be attending a youth event in East Park in his home city of Hull. Campbell, now a professional boxer, will join youth workers and St Paul’s Boxing Club, to promote sport to young people.