London 2012: Olympic cyclists star on first day
Published: 28th Jul 2012 11:35:49
Thousands of spectators are cheering cyclists along the route of the Olympic road race during the first full day of competition at London 2012.
An average of 22.4m people in the UK watched Danny Boyle's opening ceremony celebration of UK culture on Friday.
Highlights included an unlikely meeting between the Queen and James Bond.
Cyclist Mark Cavendish's bid to claim Team GB's first gold is under way after the road race - taking in streets in London and Surrey - began on The Mall.
Huge crowds are lining the route to watch Cavendish and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.
Cavendish has said he hopes to "light the fire" for the GB team over the 250km route - the longest event in the Games - which will also finish in The Mall.
The BBC's Clark Ainsworth in Ripley, Surrey, said the picturesque village's main street had been closed for a chicane section of the race making it a great spot for spectators as cyclists slowed down to negotiate it.
The road closure had been handled well with an organised operation directing motorists to car parks, he added.
In other Olympic developments:
Transport for London commissioner Peter Hendy said hundreds of thousands of people would be travelling across London on Saturday.
Thousands of spectators are cramming the pavements and verges towards the top of Box Hill, in Surrey, hoping for a glimpse of the world's fastest road cyclists.
I'm at the top of the unticketed stretch where locals and cycling enthusiasts have been out since dawn with camp chairs, cameras and even chalk to mark up the roads with messages including "Go Cav", "Go Wiggo" and "Go for Gold".
It's not all about Team GB. I've met Belgians and Germans in the crowd and, while the union flag is everywhere - on capes, caps and faces - it's a happily cosmopolitan crowd.
For hours it's been like a sprawling street party here.
Now police officers have begun to ask spectators to keep behind the white lines to clear the route where 144 cyclists will hurtle round nine times in just a matter of hours.
"The roads in south-west London and Surrey will be exceptionally busy with a large number of temporary road closures for the cycling road races today and tomorrow."
He said public transport would also be "exceptionally busy" with people making their way to watch the cycling road race and to other venues.
But he said all transport "serving the spectacular opening ceremony ran well, getting everyone to the Olympic Park on time and home again".
Britain's other big medal hopeful of the day is Scotland's Hannah Miley, 22, in the women's 400m individual medley who is ranked third-fastest in the world this year in the event.
Team GB women's pair Heather Stanning and Helen Glover will be among the first to race as the Olympic rowing events begin in Berkshire.
In total, athletes will compete in 19 sports on Saturday with medals also due to be awarded in archery, fencing, judo, swimming and weightlifting.
Great Britain's swimmers skipped Friday night's ceremony because of their early start in swimming events at the Aquatics Centre.
On Saturday night, meanwhile, 14-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps will race against rival and fellow-American Ryan Lochte in the 400m individual medley final.
Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge - who sat next to the Queen at Friday night's opening ceremony - has praised the event, saying it "bodes well for a successful Games".
"It demonstrated all that is good about British creativity," he added.
At the end of the ceremony, the Queen declared the London Olympics officially open, before seven young athletes were given the honour of lighting the ceremonial flame.
The seven, chosen by British Olympic champions, each lit a single tiny flame on the ground, igniting 205 petals, one for each competing nation or territory.
Long stems then rose towards each other to form a cauldron, signifying unity.
The flame had arrived via the Thames on a speedboat carrying David Beckham, who handed the torch to five-time rowing gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave.
The show began with iconic images of London and Britain being beamed to the world, and all four countries of the UK being represented in song with a field at the stadium turned into a meadow with live animals.
The show moved through the "great revolutions in British society", from an agricultural setting through to the Industrial Revolution itself.
Steelworkers began forging material that transformed into golden Olympic rings prompting cheers from the 80,000-strong crowd.
There were cheers too as the crowd saw a film featuring a meeting between the Queen and Daniel Craig, as agent 007 James Bond.
"Good evening Mr Bond," she said before the pair left together, heading towards the Olympic Stadium in a helicopter.
The aircraft then flew over the stadium to the sound of the Bond theme tune, as two figures parachuted down, one dressed as the monarch, before the Queen appeared in the stands.
There were also appearances from comic actor Rowan Atkinson, as Mr Bean, as well as from musicians including Mike Oldfield, Dizzee Rascal and Sir Paul McCartney.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. London 2012: Olympic cyclists star on first day. [Online] (Updated 28 Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1443217-London-2012-Olympic-cyclists-star-on-first-day [Accessed 22nd May 2013]
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