Aggressive tactics pay off for Drucker and BMC Racing in RideLondon-Surrey Classic

Luxembourg rider wins breakaway sprint on The Mall

Aggressive racing paid off for BMC Racing at the RideLondon-Surrey Classic on Sunday with Jean-Pierre Drucker winning the race from a small break on The Mall in London.

The Luxembourg rider won ahead of Mike Teunissen and last year’s runner-up Ben Swift in a tight finish but BMC Racing were deserving of the victory having placed riders in several key breaks.

Gerts Floris was the first BMC rider to attack from the main field with still over 100km to go. He bridged up the day’s early break and provided cover when a larger group containing teammates Rohan Dennis, Philippe Gilbert and Drucker moved clear.

However, the racing-winning attack came with around 70 kilometres to go when the peloton, sapped of energy after a persisted around of attacking through the Surrey hills, let a group of eight, including Drucker, move clear.

For team director Max Sciandri, the win was a collaborative effort from his riders, although he admitted surprise that so few teams applied a similar tactic of trying to break the peloton up before the long and flat run into London’s capital for the finish.

“When you’re racing with six riders it’s not easy. Especially when you’re used to racing with eight or nine in your team. The plan was to have a hard race. We needed a hard race with a hard race in the middle section,” Sciandri told Cyclingnews at the finish.

“For Jempy that style of race was good. Phil wanted to try and that's when we sent out Floris, not for him to bridge over but mainly just to stir things up. For some reason other teams didn’t move but LottoNL did the lap after.

“Then on Box Hill we had four men in the break and then Jumpy was there. That was a good situation for him because he’s not a pure bunch sprinter, he’s more of a man who can do well in a bunch of 30 to 40 riders. Today he played it well tactically.”

On the run into London, Sep Vanmarcke attacked from the lead group of eight but Drucker led the chase with Swift and Teunissen soon on their heels. Despite the numerical superiority Lotto were unable to capitalize. This was also Swift’s first race since returning from injury but takes nothing away from Drucker, who opened his sprint with the line in sight.

The win signified Drucker’s first win since moving to BMC Racing at the start of the season. For Sciandri, the key to the race was in how the team tackled the parcours of the London race.

“You go up any of the these climbs once and it’s not really hard for these guys who have come off the Tour de France, and I’m talking about the WorldTour teams here. It’s just a constant up and down and the good weather makes a huge difference because if it was raining then for sure on some of these descents they would have been harder than some of the climbs.”

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