Cyclists Descend On London

3 August 2013, 12:46 | Updated: 3 August 2013, 12:49

Tens of thousands of cyclists are descending on London and Surrey this weekend (August 3rd and 4th) in what's being billed as the UK's largest festival of cycling.

More than 70,000 riders are taking part in the RideLondon festival.

The weekend, which includes four separate events, has been designed to appeal to riders of all ages and abilities but the highlight is set to be a 100-mile race from London through Surrey.

London mayor Boris Johnson is taking part in the 100-mile challenge on Sunday.

He said he had done a "couple" of 55-mile rides as part of his training programme codenamed "chiselled whippet".

He hopes to complete his event in 12 hours even though the cut-off time for finishers is supposed to be nine hours.

He said: "My team has told me I will never make it. They think I am too clapped out to cycle 100 miles but the more they discourage me, the more determined I am to have a crack."

Mr Johnson said he had done a "couple" of 55-mile rides as part of his training adding: "It is not the length of time, it is the speed I am worried about."

British Olympic cycling champions Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell have been in the Grand Prix on Saturday.

The race features the world's best women, junior and hand cyclists in action on a circuit in and around London's St James's Park.

Up to 20,000 amateur cyclists are to line up for the 100-mile challenge. It is set to go through London and Surrey on routes which evoke memories of the 2012 Olympic road races.

It will start at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, on Sunday and travel on to Surrey's country roads and hills before finishing in central London.

It is hoped that, as with the London's world-famous annual marathon, people may use the event as a charity fundraiser.

Rugby World Cup winner Matt Dawson, two-time Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell, former Olympic and World champion sprint hurdler Sally Gunnell and soap stars from Emmerdale are among the celebrities taking part.

The ride also includes a business relay for teams of four, riding approximately 25 miles each and handing over a baton.

A 140-mile race for 150 of the world's top cyclists as part of the UCI Europe Tour will also be held on Sunday. The riders will compete in 25 teams.

It starts at the Olympic Park and will follow part of the 2012 road race route on roads in London and Surrey.