Many thousands of local people are expected to line the streets of Hackney and Tower Hamlets today to welcome the world’s cycling elite and the 101st Tour de France as it passes through London.
Today the two boroughs will form parts of the final 96-mile third stage of the three-days of the Tour through England, which will see around 200 cyclists chase the coveted yellow jersey from Cambridge to London.
More than 2.5m people are believed to have turned out to watch the Tour in Yorkshire over the weekend, following the ‘Grand Depart’ in Leeds on Saturday morning. Around 1m people turned out in London when the Tour last visited in 2007.
After setting off from Cambridge this morning, the race will travel through Essex before arriving in London via Epping Forest. The riders will pass through Hackney before continuing through the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, parts of Stratford and into Tower Hamlets before turning east and finishing on The Mall at around 15:30.
In Hackney, the Tour will pass down via Ruckholt Road, Eastway and Waterden Road in the Hackney Wick area. See the full details and timings here
In Tower Hamlets, the route will cover four miles of the borough, with riders passing through Aspen Way, the Limehouse Link, Poplar, Shadwell and Wapping, before exiting via Tower Hill. See the full details and timings here
The Tower Hamlets section – a 25-minute journey for the average cyclist making their way to the office on a Monday morning – will be completed by the world’s best in under half that time.
Roads along the route will be closed between 10am and 6pm to guarantee that competitors and spectators are kept safe. Parking will also be affected, eight bus routes diverted or terminated early, and tube and rail stations packed with eager fans.
Fan Parks have been created in Green Park and Trafalgar Square and a spectator hub at Hopkins Field in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where giant screens have been set up.
Despite the disruption to daily life, there is great excitement in the borough, not least from Tower Hamlets Mayor, Lutfur Rahman. He has welcomed the “amazing spectacle”, hoping it will encourage residents to take to two wheels more often.
“We welcome the cyclists to our borough,” he said. “I hope that everyone enjoys the great atmosphere watching the race and be inspired to take up cycling as a pastime.”
The Tour’s Publicity Caravan – a convoy of floats that entertain the crowd by throwing out promotional tidbits – is expected to pass through Aspen Way at 1.45pm ahead of the arrival of the race pack around 3.15pm.
Councillor Shahed Ali has encouraged residents and businesses to carefully plot any planned transportation given the scale of the event.
“With an event of this size there will be road and travel disruption,” he said. “Plan your travel ahead of the race day, allow extra time for journeys and keep listening to local travel updates for the latest advice.”More information, including full details of timings, is available at www.tfl.gov.uk/tourdefrance.