London 2012: Olympic cycle race tickets announced
THOUSANDS of spectators will be forced to pay to watch this summer's Olympic cycle races from Box Hill.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has announced tickets to watch the event from two vantage points on the National Trust beauty spot will go on sale May 29.
Tickets will be £15 full price and £5 for young people and seniors for the viewing area at Donkey Green.
There will be a £10 fee for adults and £5 for children for the viewing area at Dormouse Drive.
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The area around Box Hill has capacity for 15,000 spectators for the men's and women's events and is seen as one of the best vantage points to see the July 28 - 29 races.
The majority of the route, which takes in 130 miles of Surrey roads, will be free but news of the Box Hill fees has been met with mixed reaction by some people.
Jackie Thomas, of Nirvana Cycles in Westcott, branded the decision a "money grabbing scheme".
She said: "It's absolutely ridiculous. You don't get this on the Tour de France and I can't imagine this happening in any other country."
She added: "If you want to promote cycling in this country it should be free to watch from the side of the road."
Ron Billard, chairman of Mole Valley Cycling Forum, said: "My personal view is they need to make some money and it seems fair enough."
He added: "As long as they don't block off the rest of Box Hill so that other people can see it. If they do that it will be absolutely wrong."
Free wristbands were handed out to watch the race at last summer's test event.
LOCOG said the the new tickets will help more people get to the Games.
LOCOG chair Sebastian Coe said: "We know thousands of sports fans were disappointed when they missed out in the initial sales period because of the massive demand for tickets. We promised we would prioritise these fans when we released the contingency tickets, which is exactly what we are doing."
LOCOG has confirmed that babies will be permitted free access to the two vantage points at Box Hill.