Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) won the RideLondon-Surrey Classic by sprinting to victory ahead of Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott) and Michael Matthews (Sunweb).
History has shown the RideLondon-Surrey Classic is typically one for the sprinters, but only for those that can make it through the hills of Surrey with the first group. The early 3 rider break of the day was caught with still 80km to go today as Team Sky tried to make life difficult for everyone on the Ranmore climb. The tough tempo on the narrow climb saw 3 riders go clear over the top, followed by a chase group of 14 riders and then the peloton.
Matteo Trentin (Quickstep), Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott) and Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) were pushing on 20″ ahead of the chase group that contained Scott Thwaites for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. The peloton was hot on their heels though and would eventually catch the chasers as we started the final climb, Box Hill.
Kennaugh had lost contact with the 2 leaders but he was replaced by Jasper Stuyven as he bridged across the 30 second gap as the race headed back towards London. The trio put their heads down and held good speed which put the peloton under pressure. Only Katusha and Sunweb had men to chase and so the gap held steady between 20″-30″. Thwaites, Ryan Gibbons and Johann van Zyl were the 3 representatives for our African Team in the reduced peloton, coming into the final 10km.
It was only when Impey could no longer sustain the pace up front that the peloton started to pull back escapees. With 1km to go Trentin and Stuyven were caught and it was down to the sprint. Thwaites and Gibbons did what they could but the strong headwind made it difficult without a full strength leadout to rely on. Kristoff delivered on his team’s hard work and took a good win.
Ryan Gibbons – Rider
Scott and I lost each other with around 1.5km to go. When the finish is so straight forward like this you kind of have to take it from the front and we never did. So we lost it there and were always just playing catch-up. Coming into the final with a strong headwind, being so far back it was never going to happen for us. It’s frustrating but considering we only had 5 guys here today and then we lost Mark Renshaw and Jay Thomson before halfway we did what we could.