Now in its third edition, the 2018 Prudential RideLondon Classique is one of the most lucrative one-day races on the women's calendar, with organisers once again offering €25,000 for the winner, and a total purse of €100,000, which equals the men's RideLondon-Surrey Classic. This year's race, which marks the 16th round of the Women's WorldTour, is held in London on July 28, and will be streamed live on BBC2, Eurosport, NBC, FloSports, Sky and SuperSport. Cyclingnews will also be providing a full report, results, news, photo galleries and video highlights.
The race had its start as a Grand Prix criterium in 2013, when it was won by Laura Trott, and then kept that format for 2014 and 2015, when it was won by Giorgia Bronzini and Barbara Guarischi, respectively. Bronzini – a former double world champion – will be on the start line with her Cylance team, as will Guarischi, who now races with Virtu Cycling.
Organisers expanded to a larger circuit race in 2016, although they still only race 64.8 kilometres, now on a 5.4km circuit that starts on The Mall next to St. James's Park in central London. The route goes up Constitution Hill, turning at the top to come back down the same way, and then across the front of Buckingham Palace to Birdcage Walk.
The route passes Horse Guards Parade, then turns right through Admiralty Arch before turning right down Whitehall, taking a U-turn in front of Big Ben before heading back up Whitehall, turning left at Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and back on to The Mall.
Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) is currently leading the Women's WorldTour after winning Strade Bianche, the Tour of Flanders, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. She was third at Emakumeen Bira, but skipped the Giro Rosa, and then recently placed second at La Course by Le Tour de France. She leads the series with 1,127 points.
Her nearest rival in the series is Annemiek Van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), who is second with 1,077 points. Van Vleuten won three stages of the Giro Rosa and the overall title, and then went on to win La Course by Le Tour de France. Earlier in the season, she was third at the Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and second overall at Emakumeen Bira.
Van Vleuten's teammate Amanda Spratt is in third place with 1,008 points after winning the overall title at Emakumeen Bira. She also won a stage at the Giro Rosa and was third overall. Earlier in the year she was third at Amstel Gold and second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
But the RideLondon Classique is less suited to the climbing specialists and caters more to the sprinters in the peloton. Cycling fans can undoubtedly look to defending champion Rivera for another sprint show on The Mall. She will have the backing of her Sunweb teammates Ellen van Dijk, Lucinda Brand and sprinter Leah Kirchmann. After recently winning the US Pro Championships road race, Rivera will look to show off her new stars-and-stripes jersey in winning fashion.
Van der Breggen will not be participating with her Boels-Dolmans team, but they will line up with world champion Chantal Blaak and strong sprinters Amy Pieters, Amalie Dideriksen and Skylar Schneider.
When it comes to a drag-race sprint to the line, however, never discount the dominant Kirsten Wild or her teammate Rachel Barbieri. The track sprinters will line up with Wiggle High5, just days after team owner Rochelle Gilmore announced it would fold at the end of the season.
Canyon-SRAM will field home-town sprinter Alice Barnes, who will look to post a victory in front of family and friends. She will be supported by Tiffany Cromwell, Tanja Erath, Lisa Klein, Christa Riffel and Trixi Worrack.
"The course is fast-paced. It's difficult to move up in the closing kilometres. The small change to the circuit this year will make it even more crucial to be positioned where you want to be," said Barnes, who also noted the increased media attention surrounding the women's race, which will be streamed live, and the difference in routes compared to the men's 183km road race.
"I like the way that the organisers have made the race different to the men's RideLondon race to give the women's race its own identity. The race is broadcast live, but being a circuit in the heart of London makes it a lot more accessible for spectators to watch the race and to see our exciting style of racing," Barnes said.
Ale Cipollini have a two-pronged approach to the bunch sprint with Chloe Hosking and Marta Bastianelli – both equally capable of winning in London.
After a winning streak in the mountains, Mitchelton-Scott will shift into lead-out mode for their sprinter Jolien D'hoore. The Belgian – one of the favourites for London – recently showed winning form at the Giro Rosa where she won two stages. Spratt will also be on the start line in London with Sarah Roy, Gracie Elvin, Jessica Allen and Alexandra Manly.
Cervelo Bigla brings forth a contender in Lotta Lepistö, while other riders to watch are Marianne Vos (Waowdeals), Kendall Ryan (Tibco-SVB), Emma White (Rally) and Roxanne Fournier (FDJ).