RideLondon 2017: Thousands take to London's traffic-free streets for capital's biggest cycling event

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Thousands have taken to the streets of London on two wheels for the capital’s biggest annual cycling event.

Prudential RideLondon, a three-day festival of cycling, sees amateur and pros alike cycle past some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks in several different races and events.

As well as the two amateur races, the festival will host a handful of professional ones over the three-day period.

The FreeCycle event took place on Saturday, giving cycling fanatics and bicycle novices the chance to whizz around traffic-free central London on an eight-mile route taking in Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Familes, groups of friends and individuals were able to take advantage of the traffic-free streets as spectators lined up to show their support.

Another of the weekend’s highlights, the Prudential RideLondon Classique – the richest women’s one-day race in professional cycling – kicks off at 5pm on Saturday, and starts and finishes on The Mall in St James’s Park.

And sitting firmly at the jolly good fun end of competitive cycling, the Brompton race will take place later on Saturday, at 7.15pm, featuring eight laps around St James’ Park, past Buckingham Palace and down The Mall.

Competitors will be dressed in city-chic with lycra sportswear absolutely not permitted and will start the race with a dash to their Brompton bikes, unfolding them at speed before taking on the circuit.

Road closures will be in place until about 7.30pm and disruption is expected around Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Waterloo Bridge and Holborn.

Sunday will see the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 take place between London and Surrey from 5.45am.

Tracing a track through London and Surrey, the 100-mile route is the London Marathon for cycling.

It starts in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, then follows on closed roads through the south-west of the capital and out to Surrey, before finishing at The Mall.

Also on Sunday, some 150 of the world’s best cyclists battle it out in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic – which offers the highest prize money of any one-day race – on a similar route from 1.40pm.

Select roads will be closed off along the route.

The cycling festival, which first took place in 2013, was created as a lasting legacy of London’s 2012 Olympic Games.

A statement on the TfL website reads: “The events will close roads on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July, affecting drivers and bus passengers.

“Tube and rail will be the best way to get around central London on the day although some stations around the routes are expected to be busier than usual, especially before and after the cycling events.”

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