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London mayor backs Ham&High Olympic route

PUBLISHED: 11:57 03 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:26 07 September 2010

THE Ham&High s campaign to keep the 2012 Olympic cycling road race in Hampstead and Highgate has won a high-profile backer in Mayor Boris Johnson. Answering questions put by Ham&High readers on cycling this week, Mayor Johnson said that he supported the

THE Ham&High's campaign to keep the 2012 Olympic cycling road race in Hampstead and Highgate has won a high-profile backer in Mayor Boris Johnson.

Answering questions put by Ham&High readers on cycling this week, Mayor Johnson said that he supported the Olympic route coming through the area.

We launched a campaign to keep the 2012 showpiece in the borough after the International Cycling Union (ICU) admitted they were reviewing the route, which would take in Regent's Park, Primrose Hill, Highgate West Hill and Hampstead Heath.

Answering a question by Camden Cycling Champion Paul Braithwaite, Mayor Johnson said the initial route couldn't be beaten. "It will be a struggle to better a route that includes Regent's Park, Highgate and Hampstead," he said.

The decision will ultimately come down to the ICU but the Mayor said that a public consultation will give both him and London residents the chance to have a say.

The support has buoyed those supporting the Hampstead route.

Cllr Braithwaite said: "It is an encouraging answer. The road cycling is the one opportunity available to citizens in London to see for free. It is the one opportunity to see an exciting event up close and personal.

"I would cautiously welcome Boris's words but we would like to see circuits around Camden, not just a race going through it. This is what we had in 2006 (The Tour of Britain race)."

The ICU's U-turn came after the Beijing Olympics when the cycle race took riders out of the city centre, an example they thought could be emulated in London.

The Mayor was answering questions put by Ham&High readers as part of City Hall's bid to encourage cycling in the capital.

Hampstead has been a popular place for beginner bikers following the launch by the Mayor of Cycle Fridays, which sees bike convoys leaving Hampstead Theatre every Friday.

Cycle Fridays continue until October 2. For more information go to www.tfl.gov.uk.

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