Preview: Prudential RideLondon Classic

London continues love affair with professional cycling

Just over a month after witnessing Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) win stage three of the Tour de France just meters away from Buckingham Palace, London will again be treated to a sprinting spectacular with the 2014 edition of the Prudential RideLondon Classic.

The first incarnation of the race was held in 2011 as a preview of the 2012 Olympic road race with the race sharing the same roads. The 2013 edition was then run on a similar, but not identical, to the one that witnessed Alexander Vinokourov claim a surprise win on The Mall in 2012.

While the fast men of the peloton in Kittel, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and last year's winner Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) are absent in 2014, there are still plenty of riders capable of reaching 80kph and more in the sprints.

Bradley Wiggins will line up in London for Team Sky and while he won't be a favourite for the win, he will be fan favourite who will have fond memories of the gold medal he won at the 2012 London Games.

The 200km race will start in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, before passing through the heart of the site of the 2012 Olympic Games and taking in the sights of Canary Wharf. The peloton then heads into central London and continues south past landmarks such as the Tower of London and Westminster.

The race makes its entry into Surrey, having passed through Kingston-upon-Thames, via the Hampton Court Bridge and along the route made famous by both the road race and time trial events during 2012 Olympic Games.

Once in Surrey , the peloton will arrive in Dorking and ascends Leith Hill — the highest point in the county — which starts the beginning of a circuit around the town which includes climbing the cat 2 climb, Denbies Wine Estate, twice.

Having made the circuits around Dorking, the race beings its northerly route back to London with the fabled zigzags to climb up onto Box Hill confronting the riders

After Box Hill, the riders continue along via Kingston-upon-Thames and then follows the Embankment all the way alongside the Thames, heading past some of London's most famous landmarks, before making their way across Parliament Square and up Whitehall which marks one kilometre to go.

The riders then swing left at Trafalgar Square, duck under Admiralty Arch, and open their legs to contest the sprint on The Mall to decide the 2014 champion.

Starting as favourites for the race will be Ben Swift (Team Sky), Elia Viviani (Cannondale), Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura), Mark Renshaw (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) while the young Australia pair of Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) and Robert-Jon McCarthy (AN Post Chain Reaction) could cause an upset.

With the race certain to be decided by a sprint finish, a breakaway looks likely to get clear and contest for the KOM and sprint points on offer as riders hoping to book a podium appearance in London before the sprinters' teams start their chase in earnest and get their trains working.

The British have shown in recent years that if you put on a bike race they will come and once again they'll be on hand to provide a buzzing atmosphere for the peloton who'll surely appreciate the fans cheering them on, but not while taking selfies.

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