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Surrey eyes up the Tour De France after Olympic cycling success
10:03pm Monday 6th August 2012 in News
Surrey County Council has revealed it is planning a bid to host a stage of the Tour de France.
The county council has said it has been spurred on to look at putting together a bid to host the iconic and arguably premier cycling event in the world by Team GB’s Olympic cycling success on the county’s roads.
Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Surrey to watch cycling stars, including medal winners Bradley Wiggins, Lizzie Armitstead and Chris Froome, compete in the Olympic Games time trials and road races.
David Hodge, leader of Surrey County Council, said the county had been “the epicentre of world cycling.”
And next month, Surrey will be the setting for another prime cycling event – the Tour of Britain national race.
Reigate will be the starting point for the final stage of the Tour, the UK’s biggest professional cycle race, on Sunday, September 16.
In recent years, the 840-mile event has attracted Tour de France stage winners, such as Britain’s Mark Cavendish, and former world champions including Thor Hushovd.
The Tour stage will cover more than 90 miles of Surrey roads with the riders heading from Reigate to pass through towns and villages including Dorking, Shere, Cranleigh and Dunsfold, en route to Guildford.
Coun Hodge said: “Surrey has been the epicentre of world cycling over the past few days, cementing the county’s reputation as a world class place to ride.”
He said: “We’re looking at putting together a bid to host a stage of the Tour de France to build on the success of the Olympic cycle races.”
Following the Olympic cycling events, roads reopened either ahead of schedule or on time thanks to more than two years of preparation ensuring everything ran as smoothly as possible.
Coun Hodge added: “We’ve had huge crowds supporting the Olympic cyclists in recent days. “People have been fantastic and showed their enthusiasm for the sport.
“Thanks to everyone’s efforts, disruption was kept to a minimum, and we showed Surrey off to the world.”
He said: “I’m delighted that by hosting these events, Surrey played its part in helping Team GB’s medal winners create Olympic history on our doorsteps.
“I’d like to thank the people of Surrey for their patience and understanding during the last few days. “I hope they enjoyed seeing such wonderful Olympic events for free in their neighbourhoods.”
Coun Hodge added: “The success of the events is also down to organisations across Surrey, including the police and borough and district councils, working closely together.”
Staging the Surrey sections of the Olympic cycle races and time trials took 42 miles of roadside barriers, 5,000 cones, 4,000 road signs and 545 road closures.
There was also an army of 6,000 stewards, volunteers and workers.
Surrey’s dedicated Olympic website - gosurrey.info - was visited about 200,000 times during the three event days in the county.
The website provided information people needed to enjoy the Games and to avoid disruption.