Crowds out in force to watch Olympic test race

NewsFew will have been unaffected by the test road race which powered through Teddington early this morning.

By late Saturday evening, only a few cars remained parked on the route and were towed. Before and after the race however it was clear that quite a number of drivers weren’t aware of the race and related road closures and some sadly took out their frustration on the 2,800 race stewards. Many of these helpers were bussed in from around the country and had little knowledge (or indeed maps) of potential diversion routes for stuck drivers.

After the race barriers were swiftly removed and some roads were re-opened just after 10am. Others nearby in Hampton Wick and Kingston however remained in place until the mid-afternoon – causing traffic issues with buses and cars wanting to travel in this direction.


The pack leave Waldegrave Road onto the central bridge. Photo: Brian Holder (Teddington Society)

There was a real sense of community spirit as neighbours stood alongside each other waiting for the race to pass them – huge numbers lined roads through Teddington, along Chestnut Avenue in the park and towards Hampton Court. The 148 cyclists formed the middle section of a lengthy procession that included race marshals, support vehicles and ambulances. After the competitors disappeared into the distance, cyclist spectators took their turn on the route and advantage of the rare chance to enjoy some roads without any traffic.

The race itself was won by English Olympic favourite Mark Cavendish in 3hrs 18mins. Although not broadcast live, highlights will be shown on by the BBC next weekend.

As well as testing the logistics of such wide-spread road closures and preparation, one of the reasons for this test race was to receive feedback from residents and race-watchers. Any comments posted below will be collated and forwarded on to race organisers to help the real race run as smoothly as possible.

[Update] some early highlights of the race here – Bushy park can be seen 47 seconds in

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0 thoughts on “Crowds out in force to watch Olympic test race

  • 15th August 2011 at 08:34
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    Had a wonderful time watching the cycling yesterday, and was really pleased to see so many people coming out to watch.

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  • 15th August 2011 at 12:09
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    Hi there – I thought the race was great and very dramatic. I watched the race in Kingston and my observations where that more marshalls were needed. Plus, the communication between marshalls was pretty poor. There was one official with a walkie talkie over quite a long stretch. No one was communicating to her and there appeared to be no system to communicate from her to other marshalls. And to be frank the girl with the walkie talkie was a bit useless. Race watchers and Kingston shoppers were unable to cross from one side of the road to the other for up to an hour. This in itself is not a problem but when information was sought on when they could cross the road none could be given as none of the official knew what was going on. In terms of more marshalls – people were lifting the barriers and walking across the road as the forward race cars were coming through. A potential recipe for disaster.

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  • 15th August 2011 at 17:52
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    I also watched it at Kingston as well as in Teddington, and as for crossing from one side of the road to the other in Kingston, I used the stairs down to the river and crossed using the path under the bridge. Was quite effective actually. My only improvement for next year would be for there to be a car driving through at the end after the final racer to signal there were no more coming, because that seemed unclear as to who was at the end. I feel sorry for any of the stragglers that maybe had less people cheering them on because they thought it was over.

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  • 15th August 2011 at 19:32
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    Good points and bad points.
    It is good to have an event of this prestige coming to Teddington, and was fun to watch, though I thought it was amusing that there seemed to be more official cars and motorcycles racing through than cyclists. I guess that all adds to the spectacle of the the event.

    Sadly, I think the day was marred by dreadful management of the road network. The stewards on the road junctions seemed to be absolutely clueless, blocking access from one part of Teddinngton to another long after the race had passed through. Twickenham Road was still closed- even though it was not on the route – over 2.5 hours after the event had passed though, by which time the cyclists were back in The Mall.
    Given that next years events are for 5 days, this chaos cannot be repeated. The organisers have to work more closely with the local people, and TFL need to get the buses running quickly after the race, not 5 hours later as they did this time.

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