Brands Hatch to host London 2012 Paralympic cycling

Paralympic gold medallist Rachel Morris, with Seb Coe and Jonathan Palmer at Brands Hatch
Paralympic gold medallist Rachel Morris, with Seb Coe (l) and Jonathan Palmer, chief executive of MotorSport Vision, at Brands Hatch

Brands Hatch has been chosen as the venue for the London 2012 Paralympic cycling road races.

Events will start and finish at the former Formula 1 circuit and include sections on local Kent roads.

Some 225 of the world's top riders will compete for 32 road race titles when the track closes to motor racing between 8-15 September.

The announcement means all the venues for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics have now been confirmed.

"I'm extremely excited to potentially be competing at Brands Hatch," said Paralympic champion Rachel Morris.

"Winning another gold medal but on home soil this time would just be fantastic.

"The course looks great and it will be a real test for athletes, promising a great show for spectators. I can't wait to give it my best shot in under 500 days time."

Brands Hatch began life as a grass track cycle venue in 1928 before establishing itself as an international motor-racing circuit, hosting the British round of the F1 world championship until 1986.

Cycling is one of Britain's most successful Paralympic sports after they picked up 20 medals - including 17 golds - across all cycle events at the Beijing Games in 2008.

The 2012 competition will cover hand cycling, tricycles, bicycles and tandems with riders competing in time-trial, road race and team relay events.

There will be 155 male and 70 female riders in medal events including mass-start road races ranging from 30km to 120km and individual and team time trials ranging from 20km to 35km.

In total there will be 17 competitions for men, 12 women's events and three mixed events.

"This will help us extend the Games outside London and will give spectators and athletes the chance to discover yet another stunning part of our country," said London 2012 chairman Lord Coe.

World cycling chief Pat McQuaid added: "The combination of the motor racing circuit and local roads combine to provide a circuit that challenges the athletes and one that will undoubtedly create some spectacular races and worthy winners next summer."

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