A bit steep? Fans may pay to see Olympic bike race


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The Independent Online

Great Britain's Mark Cavendish will be hoping to bag the first gold medal of the Olympics in the cycling road race this summer.

The event, which takes place on the opening day, was supposed to give thousands of people who failed to get tickets a chance to see at least one event for free. But spectators may now be charged if they want to stand close to the roads that form the 9.6-mile circuit around Box Hill in Surrey, despite previous assertions from organisers that it would be free to watch.

Paul Deighton, the chief executive of London 2012, said it would be "perfectly appropriate to consider charging for tickets." About 15,000 spectators will be allowed into the area for the men's event on 28 July and the women's race the day after.

Mr Deighton said: "Box Hill is a prime viewing slot. The men's race goes round it nine times. It is better, frankly, than being at the start and finish in the Mall. The issue is how we ticket that, and whether or not we charge for those tickets."

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) still has four million tickets to sell: 1.5 million Olympic football tickets, 1.5 million Paralympics tickets, and about one million non-football Olympic tickets. These will go on sale in April.

On Thursday, the London Assembly accused Locog of a "lack of transparency" over the ticketing process for the Olympic Games.

Bring on the real action...

Team GB’s fans were given reason to cheer, and look forward to the summer, last night when Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish broke the work record in the team sprint during the first major competition to be held at the Olympic Park Velodrome. The track was designed to help set fast times.