World's best riders come to Essex for Olympic test event
More than 80 of the world's best riders came to Essex to take
part in an Olympic test event.
The event, held on Sunday, July 31, 2011 at Hadleigh Farm, was a
chance for Essex Police's Olympic Planning Team to put into
practice their plans for the London 2012 Olympic Games mountain
A total of 5000
spectators turned out to watch 82 athletes compete at the Olympic
venue over a 4.6km course. It was the first time the riders
have had the chance to race on the Olympic course and in just
over a year, they'll be racing there to compete for an Olympic gold
During the Olympic Games, police will have responsibility for
public safety and prevention of crime and will be working to
aid the free flow of traffic.
Ch Insp John Walker from the planning team said: "We wanted to
provide a presence but with a light policing touch. The test event
was an opportunity for local people to experience the mountain
biking course and enjoy a family day out."
Visitors to the sold out event were able to see police horses
Coggeshall, Tilbury and Chigwell, also known as Biscuit, Major and
Rosie, on patrol inside the venue and in Hadleigh town. Police
officers and a PCSO from the Operation Velo bike team were on site
as well as a small number of local officers who were able to talk
with people attending the event.
A park and ride service from Waterside Park on Canvey
Island and buses from Leigh railway station were operating, however
traffic appeared to be quieter than a normal Sunday in July in the
Chief Insp Walker added: "It is a very impressive setting and the
riders have said it is a tough course, so we are looking forward to
the main event in 2012 with 20,000 people expected to attend on
Security at the venue is the responsibility of the London Olympic
Games organisation committee (LOCOG). The test event gave them the
opportunity to test key parts of the event operations including
field of play, workforce and transport.
Debbie Jevans, Director of Sport at LOCOG, said: "This was an
incredibly successful event. Putting on a test event is vital for
us to test key elements of our operations.
"The event went very smoothly, but we will still learn from the
event and listen and work with the athletes to ensure we deliver
the best possible Mountain Bike event at the Games next
Female competitors completed six laps of the course and male
Reigning Olympic champion Julien Absalon from France led from the
start to come out on top for the men, and Canadian Catharine
Pendrel won the women’s race.
She said: "I was very happy with how the
course raced. If there were 80 girls on the course the corners
would be a little tricky, but it raced really well and the
spectators were awesome.”
Cllr Stephen Castle, from Essex County Council added: “We were
delighted to welcome the world’s top riders and the 5000 spectators
to our Olympic venue here at Hadleigh Farm.
"It was a thrilling day of competition and truly spectacular to
witness how the elite athletes dealt with the technically
challenging course, set against the breathtaking panoramic views of
the Thames Estuary.
"This is fantastic for Essex and this event will put Essex firmly
on the map as a great cycling destination”