By Duncan Mackay
September 1 - The route for the cycling road race for the London 2012 Olympics is set to be changed so it uses iconic British venues like Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle because the world governing body do not think it is attractive enough for a global television audience.
The world governing body UCI have asked London 2012 organisers to redesign the original course and come up with a new route that rivals the one used at the Olympics last year in Beijing, when it passed Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Yonghegong Palace and the Temple of Earth Park before finishing on the Great Wall of China, one of the eight wonders of the world.
The road races were among the highlights of the Beijing Games with victories for Britain's Nicole Cooke over a 104.6 kilometres (64.9 miles) course and Spain's Samuel Sanchez over 245.4km (152.4 miles).
The original route for the London 2012 race was set to follow the course of the 2006 Tour of Britain, which went from Regent's Park, through Primrose Hill and Kentish Town, up Highgate West Hill and around Hampstead Heath in what was called the "King of the Mountains" section.
After the event, organisers and riders, including Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins, heralded the success of the London leg of the tour after thousands of cheering spectators lined the roads to lend support.
But a new route could see the riders start in Central London at the Houses of Parliament and wind out towards Eton College and Windsor Castle, the largest inhabited castle in the world dating back to the time of the William the Conqueror, before heading back towards the capital, possibly finishing outside Buckingham Palace, the Queen's main residence.
Hampton Court, which was built in 1514 during the reign of King Henry VIII, could also figure in the revised course.
A final decision is expected before the end of the year.
A spokesman for the UCI told insidethegames: "We are still in discussion and will undergo a full process of consultation about any change of the course.
"After the Beijing experience we would like to have the start in a central part of London and move out of the city.
A spokeswoman for London 2012 told insidethegames: "The road cycling route for the London 2012 Olympic Games was scheduled to go from Regents Park through Hampstead and Highgate.
"Following the road cycling competition in Beijing in 2008, where the race started at Tianneman Square and went out of the city to the Great Wall of China for the more challenging part of the circuit, the international cycling federation has asked the London 2012 Organising Committe to re-examine the proposed route.
"They would like the route to start at a more central part of London and move out of the city.
"We are in discussions with the UCI about what this route might be and will undergo a full process of consultation about any proposed changes in due course."
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