Boonen wins RideLondon Classic

Team Sky's strong tactics fail to pay off

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.

Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data) beat fellow Australian Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange) to take second, with Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal) taking fourth.

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." 

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step4:43:55 
2Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data  
3Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange  
4Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
5Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
6Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
7Floris Gerfs (Ned) BMC Racing Team  
8Tobyn Horton (GBr) Madison Genesis  
9Steele von Hoff (Aus) ONE Pro Cycling  
10Mark McNally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
11Michel Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
12Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac  
13Christopher Lawless (GBr) JLT Condor  
14Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac  
15Dylan Page (Swi) Team Roth  
16Lander Seynaeve (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
17Jake Kelly (GBr) Team WIGGINS  
18Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
19Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
20Miguel Angel Benito Diez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
21Samuel Lowe (GBr) Team WIGGINS  
22Tim Kerkhof (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
23Jasper Bovenhuis (Ned) An Post-Chainreaction  
24Jonathan McEvoy (GBr) NFTO  
25Huub Duyn (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
26Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
27Russell Downing (GBr) JLT Condor  
28Alexandre Blain (Fra) Madison Genesis  
29Jef Van Meirhaeghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
30Adrià Moreno Sala (Spa) Team Raleigh Gac  
31Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Team Raleigh Gac  
32Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
33Luca Chirico (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
34Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
35Steven Lampier (GBr) JLT Condor  
36Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
37Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
38Stijn Steels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
39Jack Pullar (GBr) Pedal Heaven  
40Edmund Bradbury (GBr) NFTO  
41Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky  
42Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
43Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice Continental Team  
44Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky  
45Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
46Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
47Matt Brammeier (Irl) Dimension Data  
48Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data  
49Michael Thompson (GBr) Team WIGGINS  
50Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale-Drapac  
51Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
52Marc Demaar (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
53Ryan Mullen (Irl) Cannondale-Drapac  
54Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
55Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
56Jon Irisarri (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
57Jacob Scott (GBr) An Post-Chainreaction  
58Thomas Moses (GBr) JLT Condor  
59Samuel Harrison (GBr) Team WIGGINS  
60Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
61Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange  
62Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
63Alistair Slater (GBr) JLT Condor0:00:16 
64Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
65Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal  
66Pawel Charucki (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team0:00:19 
67Reinier Honig (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton0:00:20 
68Tyler Farrar (USA) Dimension Data  
69Erick Rowsell (GBr) Madison Genesis  
70Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
71Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:24 
72Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:28 
73Thomas Stewart (GBr) Madison Genesis0:00:40 
74Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team0:00:50 
75Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:00:55 
76Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:01:02 
77Karol Domagalski (Pol) ONE Pro Cycling0:01:51 
78Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:02:37 
79Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team0:03:33 
80Mateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
81Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani CSF0:03:46 
82Nick Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data0:03:54 
83Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica-BikeExchange0:04:35 
84Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-BikeExchange  
85Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange  
86Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange  
87Matthew Holmes (GBr) Madison Genesis  
88Conor Dunne (Irl) JLT Condor  
89Michal Paluta (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:06:56 
90Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:08:46 
91Christopher Latham (GBr) Team WIGGINS  
92Ian Bibby (GBr) NFTO0:10:54 
93Sebastian Mora Vedri (Spa) Team Raleigh Gac0:13:02 
94Dexter Gardias (GBr) Pedal Heaven0:13:53 
95Joshua Hunt (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling0:15:32 
96Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:17:10 
97Max Stedman (GBr) Pedal Heaven0:19:15 
98Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Cannondale-Drapac0:19:59 
99Pawel Franczak (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team0:20:42 
100Lukas Jaun (Swi) Team Roth  
101Steven Roach (GBr) Team Raleigh Gac  
102Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky  
103Will Fox (GBr) Pedal Heaven  
104James Gullen (GBr) Pedal Heaven  
105Lucas Gaday Orozco (Arg) Team Roth  
106Marco D'urbano (Ita) Team Roth  
107Damien Shaw (Irl) An Post-Chainreaction  
DNFEmiel Wastyn (Bel) An Post-Chainreaction  
DNFOliver Ket-Spark (Aus) An Post-Chainreaction  
DNFGrischa Janorschke (Ger) Team Roth  
DNFTristan Marguet (Swi) Team Roth  
DNFGruffudd Lewis (GBr) Madison Genesis  
DNFKris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFFrederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFHector Saez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFIker Azkarate Ramirez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
DNFJack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Drapac  
DNFYanto Barker (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling  
DNFMatthew Harley Goss (Aus) ONE Pro Cycling  
DNFPeter Williams (GBr) ONE Pro Cycling  
DNFDale Appleby (GBr) NFTO  
DNFLiam Stones (GBr) NFTO  
DNFRhys Lloyd (GBr) NFTO  
DNFAdam Blythe (GBr) Tinkoff Team  
DNFDaniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFIan Field (GBr) Team Great Britain  
DNFOliver Wood (GBr) Team Great Britain  
DNFMatthew Gibson (GBr) Team Great Britain  
DNFKai Reus (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFAlbert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Team Raleigh Gac  
DNFEvan Oliphant (GBr) Team Raleigh Gac  
DNFKenny De Ketele (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFRuben Pols (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFAndrew Tennant (GBr) Team WIGGINS  
DNFDavide Martinelli (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
DNFHamish Schreurs (NZl) Etixx - Quick-Step  
DNFPawel Bernas (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
DNFAdam Stachowiak (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
DNFLukasz Bodnar (Pol) Verva ActiveJet Pro Cycling Team  
DNFStephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data  
DNFKenny De Haes (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFJean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwa) Stradalli - Bike Aid  
DNFJoseph Areruya (Rwa) Team Rwanda  
DNFJean Claude Uwizeyimana (Rwa) Team Rwanda  
DNFSamuel Mugisha (Rwa) Team Rwanda  
DNFAlex Paton (GBr) Pedal Heaven  
DSQConnor McConvey (Irl) An Post-Chainreaction  

Related Articles

Back to top