An international field will descend on London for the RideLondon Classic this weekend with high-calibre pelotons for both the men’s and women’s races.
The races, which for the men have many similarities to the 2012 Olympic Games courses, will see Bradley Wiggins (Team WIGGINS) and Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) line up, while Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda), Laura Trott (Matrix Pro Cycling), Lisa Brennauer and Barbara Guarischi (Velocio-SRAM) lead the line up in Saturday’s women’s event.
Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic - The course
The men’s 200km race starts out in at Horse Guards Parade, St James’s Park in central London, 400 metres from where a Tour de France stages finished in 2014. The route then traces its way out from central London and towards the county of Surrey.
The picture-postcard scenery will be of little consolation to the field though, with the next 80km of the route zig-zagging its way through a countryside parcours that’s dotted with punchy, energy-sapping climbs. The roads are tight too in certain sections so contenders will need to be constantly towards the front of the action, even after an early break has moved off the front of the peloton.
There are a series of challenging hills before the rather more iconic Box Hill, which was centre piece to the Olympic races.
From there the peloton head back towards the capital and onto The Mall, with a finish just before Buckingham Palace.
Defending champion Adam Blythe (Orica-GreenEdge) returns to the race with a strong supporting cast, which includes Michael Hepburn. He certainly will not be the only fast finisher in the race as Cavendish and André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) will go head-to-head for the first time since the Tour de France.
Cavendish will be supported by Tom Boonen, with the Belgian using the race as part of his build-up towards the World Championships in Richmond, US, later this year.
Although Chris Froome is missing from Team Sky’s line up, their home team’s roster does include last year’s runner-up Ben Swift and the experienced Bernie Eisel. Swift is still finding his form after his crash at the Tour de Yorkshire earlier this season but with Andy Fenn, Chris Sutton and Elia Viviani also in Team Sky’s line-up the British team certainly have options.
Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix
In the women’s race – taking place on Saturday and held over a 1.3km criterium circuit - Team Wiggle-Honda return as the squad to beat, having won in 2013 and 2014. Defending champion Giorgia Bronzini will lead a strong squad that includes Dani King, Chloe Hosking and Annette Edmondson.
Shelley Olds will line up for her new team Alé-Cipollini, while Emma Johansson will take part for Orica-AIS. Velocio-SRAM also arrive with a team capable of winning with Brennaeur and Guarischi along with Trixi Worrack and Loren Rowney.