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We shouldn't change Olympic cycle route for all the tea in China

PUBLISHED: 11:52 05 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:20 07 September 2010

IT NOW looks likely that the 2012 Olympics will pass this part of north London by. The organising committee for the Games is re-thinking the route for one of the most spectacular events, the cycling road race, which was originally scheduled to start at Re

IT NOW looks likely that the 2012 Olympics will pass this part of north London by. The organising committee for the Games is re-thinking the route for one of the most spectacular events, the cycling road race, which was originally scheduled to start at Regent's Park and go through Primrose Hill and Kentish Town, up Highgate West Hill and around Hampstead Heath.

The U-turn is at the behest of the International Cycling Federation. With all due respect, the Olympic organisers should tell the cycling body precisely where to get off, in no uncertain terms.

Apparently cycling's ruling body wants to recreate the spirit of China, where the race started at Tianneman Square and went out of the city to the Great Wall of China.

They have told the Olympic committee they would like the route to start at a more central part of London and move out of the city. But these are London's games, and this isn't China. If every sporting body was permitted to veto our plans, chaos would ensue.

In the eyes of experts, the original route would have been an excellent test of a top cyclist's ability - anyone who negotiates Highgate West Hill by pedal power deserves a medal - and the main part of the course has already been successfully trialled for the London leg of the Tour of Britain. The organising committee must now stand its ground and stick up for an excellent route that was carefully-chosen, and without which a large part of north London, including two of the capital's most historic open spaces, will be deprived of our one and only Olympic event.

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