After finishing second last year with Elia Viviani, Deceuninck-QuickStep are heading into the 2019 RideLondon-Surrey Classic on Sunday with a roster that is ready for any outcome, with potential winners coming from a breakaway or the expected bunch sprint.
Viviani, who recently won a stage at the Tour de France, will return to the race again this year, joined on the start line by fellow sprinter Alvaro Hodeg, who is coming off two stage win of his own at the Adriatica Ionica Race in Italy. The sprinters will be supported in the finale by Michael Mørkøv, if the race plays out in their favour, while the team will also have Philippe Gilbert and Zdenek Stybar to play their cards in the early moves. Iljo Kiesse and Davide Martinelli will be on hand to patrol the front and keep the race under control.
The eighth edition of the RideLondon-Surrey Classic – the race jumped to the WorldTour in 2017 – has a slightly altered parcours that cut 18km from the route but added more climbing. The peloton will tackle Box Hill [2.5km and averaging 5 per cent gradient] on five occasions, but the final ascent comes with with 50km remaining to the finish.
"The race will be different this year, because we go up the Box Hill two more times, and the bunch could get shattered to pieces there," said Deceuninck-QuickStep director Klaas Lodewyck.
"We will try to control the race as much as possible with Iljo and Davide, and in case there will be a regrouping and a mass gallop, we have both Elia and Alvaro, who'll be supported by Michael," Lodewyck said. "If not, Philippe and Zdenek, who is returning to competition, are our guys for a good result on Sunday."
Deceuninck-QuickStep for RideLondon-Surrey Classic: Philippe Gilbert, Alvaro Hodeg, Iljo Keisse, Davide Martinelli, Michael Mørkøv, Zdenek Stybar, Elia Viviani