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Page last updated at 14:39 GMT, Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Olympic cycling finishing line at Hampton Court Palace


2012 Games event for Palace

Hampton Court Palace will mark the start and finish line of the cycling time trials at the London Olympics.

The event, which will take place on Wednesday, 1 August 2012, will be a one-lap circuit of Esher.

The route was picked after the International Cycling Union (UCI) rejected initial plans for the time trials to take place in Regent's Park.

The men will compete on a 44km circuit, while the women's event will take place on a reduced 29km route.

Each rider will leave the palace at 90-second intervals, with the fastest rider earning the Olympic gold medal on the fifth day of the Olympics.

Time trial route

Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog), described Hampton Court Palace as "a stunning venue".

The British team for the event is yet to be announced, but Emma Pooley could be a big draw for the crowds after her silver medal success at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The course will take riders over Hampton Court Bridge and into Surrey. There, they turn west on Hurst Road and will circumvent the Knight and Bessborough reservoirs.

Having headed through East Molesey, the riders power through to Hampton Court Way, Weston Green Road and More Lane.

The hilly section of the course begins on the way to Cobham along Seven Hills Road, followed by a turn on to Portsmouth Road.

After that, the riders will take in Kingston-upon-Thames, Richmond, Teddington and Strawberry Vale, before crossing the finishing line back at the palace.

The women's route differs slightly, as they will avoid the reservoir, joining Hampton Court Way directly.

Emma Pooley
Emma Pooley could be included in the British time trial team

Also, whereas the men will loop through Teddington and Bushy Park upon their return into Kingston, the women will cycle through Bushy Park and the palace grounds to the finish.

A full test of the course has not yet been completed and more work still needs to be done with local town halls to finalise the race details.

It has taken 12 months of consultation between the UCI and the International Olympic Committee to get the route signed off.

The original Regent's Park plans had to be shelved after the UCI demanded a more difficult route.

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