Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) paid back his teammates for their hard working during RideLondon Classic, winning the sprint on The Mall in central London, after they chased down Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) after he made a 50km solo break away.
Boonen timed his effort perfectly, letting other sprinters go first on the wide finish. He tucked up along the barriers and found the speed to come through and hit the line first.
Team Sky anticipated their rivals by attacking early in the Surrey hills with 90km to race and that split the race. Thomas and Ian Stannard joined the break of the day and then sparked their own attack on the other hills. Thomas hit alone and looked set to win it but the peloton spoilt his day, giving Boonen a big win.
"We went full on all day," Boonen said. "I was dropped two times and punctured one time and got stuck behind some guys who were dropped, so it took a lot of energy to get back on. At the point I got back on in the group, there were 80 guys in there. We did an incredible job chasing everyone and then got ready for the sprint in the last five kilometres. I felt confident because I did a few sprints last week and so I'm happy with this win. It's the first time in a while that I've beaten these guys. It's looking good for the next few races."
How it unfolded
The RideLondon Classic got underway on The Mall in downtown London on Sunday at Horse Guards Parade. Parts of the lumpy 200km course was used in the 2012 London Olympics making it an iconic route. The race offered the field a series of intermediate challenges with mountain points available at Leith Hill (76.4km), Ranmore Common (93.7km, 112.8km and 132.1km) and Box Hill Summit (150.5km).
There were also intermediate sprints points available at Dorking (86.9km, 106.1km, 125,4km, 144.5km) and in Wimbledon at 187.8km, before heading toward the finish line on The Mall.
A breakaway got underway with Jempy Drucker (BMC), Jens Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen), Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis), Dexter Gardias (Pedal Heaven), Jonas Rickaert (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural).
The six riders quickly picked up a three-minute advantage that continued to push out to nearly four minutes but they were disrupted by an unexpected neutralization at roughly 50km into the race.
Two separate crashes happened up the road during the RideLondon 100 cyclo-sportif event that resulted in two injured, one being taken to hospital. The event officials temporarily closed the circuit near Dorking and the cyclo-sportif event was stopped for about 45 minutes.
The pro men's race was stopped further back for about 20 minutes. Once the road way was cleared, race directors set the six original breakaway riders off to re-start the race, and when they reached their original gap of roughly 3:50, the peloton resumed racing as well. Team Sky riders again positioned themselves at the front to control the chase and set a fast tempo behind.
Drucker and Holmes picked up 20 points each in the KOM competition, tying for the top prize, while Wallays finished in third with 18 points.
Tactics almost pay off for Team Sky over Ranmore Common
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) jumped away from the field led by his teammates in full-offensive mode over Ranmore Common. Behind him, teammates Chris Froome, Ian Stannard tried to launch themselves forward to bridge across to Thomas. The move effectively put the powerful team Etixx-QuickStep and Orica-BikeExchange, and many other teams out of the race.
While Froome dropped back, Stannard and Thomas along with Pat Bevin (Cannondale-Drapac) joined one another and pushed on to bridge the 40-second gap to the four remaining breakaway riders: Drucker, Wallays, Lastras and Holmes. The two groups connected with 65km to go.
A 30-rider group behind included Froome, four riders from Dimension Data and a couple of riders from Etixx-QuickStep, but they were over three minutes back and there was no concerted effort to chase the leading seven, indicating that the race behind was seemingly over.
The breakaway hit the bottom of Box Hill for the last KOM sprint, located about 50 km from the finish line. Thomas made a big acceleration and held the faster speeds up the beginning of the climb. He opened a gap as splits in the group formed and Lastras fell off pace.
Over the top of Box Hill, Thomas went into time trial mode and picked up 40 seconds, looked under his arm to see what kind of a gap he had, but saw no one behind him.
Bevin and Drucker desperately tried to minimize the damage by pushing the speeds of the chase group but Thomas' lead increased to nearly one minute with 25km to go.
Thomas' tactical move effectively gave Stannard an armchair ride in the chase group during the last quarter of the race back toward The Mall.
Meanwhile, on the flatter sections back to the finish line under 20km to go, the main field that included Froome, pushed on and closed down the gap to the within one minute to the five chasers: Drucker, Wallays, Lastras and Holmes and Stannard.
Just as the gap between the chase group and the main field looked like it might close down, Stannard attacked and cleared his companions, in a solo pursuit of his teammate Thomas.
In the main field all hesitation ended as Lotto Soudal, Orica-BikeExchange and Etixx-QuickStep among other sprint teams organized themselves at the front and reeled in Drucker, Lastras, Wallays and Holmes, but there were still two Team Sky riders still, separately, up the road and headed toward the finish line for the top two places on the podium.
Their strong team efforts would not last, however, as Stannard looked over his shoulder and saw that his time out front had come to an end. The field charged past him in pursuit of Thomas and caught him inside five kilometres to go, setting up for a bunch kick with Boonen taking the win on The Mall.
"When I was here in the Olympics, it was a very hard course to ride on," Boonen explained. "Once you get dropped its very hard to chase on the narrow roads. It takes time to get back the attacks. In the finale, it was just the strongest guys up there. But it took everybody to catch it back. When we came to the last corner, I was waiting for the perfect moment and I was passing some guys who didn't have speed and then I saw the inside line and so decided to ride and see what happens. I had the legs to finish it off."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step||4:43:55|
|2||Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data|
|3||Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange|
|4||Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|5||Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice|
|6||Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|7||Floris Gerfs (Ned) BMC Racing Team|
|8||Tobyn Horton (GBr) Madison Genesis|
|9||Steele von Hoff (Aus) ONE Pro Cycling|
|10||Mark McNally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert|
|11||Michel Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton|
|12||Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac|
|13||Christopher Lawless (GBr) JLT Condor|
|14||Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac|
|15||Dylan Page (Swi) Team Roth|
|16||Lander Seynaeve (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert|
|17||Jake Kelly (GBr) Team WIGGINS|
|18||Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team|
|19||Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise|
|20||Miguel Angel Benito Diez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|21||Samuel Lowe (GBr) Team WIGGINS|
|22||Tim Kerkhof (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton|
|23||Jasper Bovenhuis (Ned) An Post-Chainreaction|
|24||Jonathan McEvoy (GBr) NFTO|
|25||Huub Duyn (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton|
|26||Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky|
|27||Russell Downing (GBr) JLT Condor|
|28||Alexandre Blain (Fra) Madison Genesis|
|29||Jef Van Meirhaeghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise|
|30||Adrià Moreno Sala (Spa) Team Raleigh Gac|
|31||Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Team Raleigh Gac|
|32||Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|33||Luca Chirico (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|34||Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|35||Steven Lampier (GBr) JLT Condor|
|36||Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky|
|37||Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF|
|38||Stijn Steels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise|
|39||Jack Pullar (GBr) Pedal Heaven|
|40||Edmund Bradbury (GBr) NFTO|
|41||Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky|
|42||Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step|
|43||Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice Continental Team|
|44||Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky|
|45||Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team|
|46||Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice|
|47||Matt Brammeier (Irl) Dimension Data|
|48||Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data|
|49||Michael Thompson (GBr) Team WIGGINS|
|50||Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale-Drapac|
|51||Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team|
|52||Marc Demaar (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton|
|53||Ryan Mullen (Irl) Cannondale-Drapac|
|54||Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice|
|55||Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team|
|56||Jon Irisarri (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|57||Jacob Scott (GBr) An Post-Chainreaction|
|58||Thomas Moses (GBr) JLT Condor|
|59||Samuel Harrison (GBr) Team WIGGINS|
|60||Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice|
|61||Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange|
|62||Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step|
|63||Alistair Slater (GBr) JLT Condor||0:00:16|
|64||Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team|
|65||Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal|
|66||Pawel Charucki (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team||0:00:19|
|67||Reinier Honig (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton||0:00:20|
|68||Tyler Farrar (USA) Dimension Data|
|69||Erick Rowsell (GBr) Madison Genesis|
|70||Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Wanty - Groupe Gobert|
|71||Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step||0:00:24|
|72||Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:00:28|
|73||Thomas Stewart (GBr) Madison Genesis||0:00:40|
|74||Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team||0:00:50|
|75||Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF||0:00:55|
|76||Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert||0:01:02|
|77||Karol Domagalski (Pol) ONE Pro Cycling||0:01:51|
|78||Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky||0:02:37|
|79||Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team||0:03:33|
|80||Mateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice|
|81||Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF||0:03:46|
|82||Nick Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data||0:03:54|
|83||Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica-BikeExchange||0:04:35|
|84||Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-BikeExchange|
|85||Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange|
|86||Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange|
|87||Matthew Holmes (GBr) Madison Genesis|
|88||Conor Dunne (Irl) JLT Condor|
|89||Michal Paluta (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice||0:06:56|
|90||Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA||0:08:46|
|91||Christopher Latham (GBr) Team WIGGINS|
|92||Ian Bibby (GBr) NFTO||0:10:54|
|93||Sebastian Mora Vedri (Spa) Team Raleigh Gac||0:13:02|
|94||Dexter Gardias (GBr) Pedal Heaven||0:13:53|
|95||Joshua Hunt (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling||0:15:32|
|96||Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise||0:17:10|
|97||Max Stedman (GBr) Pedal Heaven||0:19:15|
|98||Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Cannondale-Drapac||0:19:59|
|99||Pawel Franczak (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team||0:20:42|
|100||Lukas Jaun (Swi) Team Roth|
|101||Steven Roach (GBr) Team Raleigh Gac|
|102||Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky|
|103||Will Fox (GBr) Pedal Heaven|
|104||James Gullen (GBr) Pedal Heaven|
|105||Lucas Gaday Orozco (Arg) Team Roth|
|106||Marco D'urbano (Ita) Team Roth|
|107||Damien Shaw (Irl) An Post-Chainreaction|
|DNF||Emiel Wastyn (Bel) An Post-Chainreaction|
|DNF||Oliver Ket-Spark (Aus) An Post-Chainreaction|
|DNF||Grischa Janorschke (Ger) Team Roth|
|DNF||Tristan Marguet (Swi) Team Roth|
|DNF||Gruffudd Lewis (GBr) Madison Genesis|
|DNF||Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Hector Saez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|DNF||Iker Azkarate Ramirez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|DNF||Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Drapac|
|DNF||Yanto Barker (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) ONE Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Peter Williams (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling|
|DNF||Dale Appleby (GBr) NFTO|
|DNF||Liam Stones (GBr) NFTO|
|DNF||Rhys Lloyd (GBr) NFTO|
|DNF||Adam Blythe (GBr) Tinkoff Team|
|DNF||Daniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo - Vital Concept|
|DNF||Ian Field (GBr) Team Great Britain|
|DNF||Oliver Wood (GBr) Team Great Britain|
|DNF||Matthew Gibson (GBr) Team Great Britain|
|DNF||Kai Reus (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton|
|DNF||Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Team Raleigh Gac|
|DNF||Evan Oliphant (GBr) Team Raleigh Gac|
|DNF||Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise|
|DNF||Ruben Pols (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise|
|DNF||Andrew Tennant (GBr) Team WIGGINS|
|DNF||Davide Martinelli (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step|
|DNF||Hamish Schreurs (NZl) Etixx - Quick-Step|
|DNF||Pawel Bernas (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team|
|DNF||Adam Stachowiak (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team|
|DNF||Lukasz Bodnar (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team|
|DNF||Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data|
|DNF||Kenny De Haes (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert|
|DNF||Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwa) Stradalli - Bike Aid|
|DNF||Joseph Areruya (Rwa) Team Rwanda|
|DNF||Jean Claude Uwizeyimana (Rwa) Team Rwanda|
|DNF||Samuel Mugisha (Rwa) Team Rwanda|
|DNF||Alex Paton (GBr) Pedal Heaven|
|DSQ||Connor McConvey (Irl) An Post-Chainreaction|