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With a test event scheduled for July 31, construction of the 2012 Olympic mountain bike course outside London is officially complete.
To mark the milestone, several English mountain bikers rode the Hadleigh Farm course in Essex on Tuesday, including David Fletcher, Kenta Gallagher Lily Matthews and Giant Factory Racing’s Liam Killeen.
“It’s a challenging course that will bring out the best in everyone,” Killeen told the BBC.
To make the track more technical for two days of mountain biking on Aug. 11 and 12, 500 tons of rock and 3,500 tons of crushed stone was added to the course, which overlooks the Thames Estuary and is 45 minutes from the Olympic Village in London. It was chosen in 2008 to replace Weald Country Park after the UCI ruled that it was not challenging enough for the sport’s top riders competing in an Olympics. The new course is set against the backdrop of the 700-year-old ruins of Hadleigh Castle, which was built in the 1230s during the reign of King Henry III.
“The course is challenging with multiple climbs and descents for the riders to tackle and I believe that the mountain bike competition will be one of the most exciting events at the London 2012 Olympic Games,” Sebastian Coe, former Olympic runner and London 2012 chairman, told the BBC.
Work on the site, which is owned by the Salvation Army, began in July 2010. The women’s XC race will be held August 11, with men’s events held the following day. Tickets will run $32 to $70.