Mark Cavendish relishes chance to sample Olympic road race course

The short distance of Sunday’s test event over the 2012 Olympic road race course will not make the event a replica of the race, believes Mark Cavendish, but the London-Surrey Classic will provide an invaluable opportunity to see the decisive section: the run in from the circuit around Box Hill through the south-west London suburbs to the finish on the Mall.

“For me, it is just seeing what the course is like,” Cavendish said. “You won’t get too much of a feeling as it is two laps [of Box Hill] rather than nine but you get a good feeling of the run-in which is quite important. I know the roads in London, I’ve been down the last kilometres in a car but never on a bike so that will be good.” Given that the ideal scenario for Great Britain has Cavendish contesting a bunch sprint, those final miles will be vital.

The Tour de France points winner added that the reduced distance – 85 miles compared with 160 for a professional classic – will make the event a little strange for most of the professionals in the field. “It is only going to be 140km and pros are used to double that. I will just be getting warmed up as the race is finishing. I don’t think it will play out like a proper professional race due to the five-man teams and the length of the race.”

Cavendish will have a strong Great Britain team at his disposal, which should help his cause.

For London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, however, the priority will be whether they can achieve a road closure on a scale not seen in London and its suburbs since the Tour de France’s visit in 2007.

Full article by William Fotheringham

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