Elia Viviani relied on his Deceuninck-QuickStep lead-out train to take a decisive win Sunday at the Prudential RideLondon-Surry Classic, outkicking Bora-Hansgrohe's Sam Bennett to the line while his teammate and final lead-out man Michael Mørkøv hung on for third.
Bennett lost his own lead-out train inside the final 2km when a touch of wheels took out a handful of Bora riders, leaving Viviani's team to take over duties on the front and deliver their man to the final 100 metres in perfect position.
"It was on the right," Viviani said of the crash in a television interview before the podium ceremony, "and I just saw the Bora guys go down, but didn’t see how it happened. Luckily, we were on the other side, so we missed that."
Once Viviani's well-drilled team took over, Bennett latched onto the Italian's wheel, but he couldn't overcome Viviani's top-end speed as the QuickStep sprinter notched his eighth win of the season after coming second to Bora's Pascal Ackermann in the same race last year.
"When we saw that the race didn’t make a selection on Box Hill we just went just for me," Viviani said. “We just tried to stay relaxed.
"We knew it was a crowded finish because everyone was there and everyone was really well organised. But we knew also we can move them out and use the legs from the Tour de France," he said, describing the well-attended and chaotic finale.
“After a Grand Tour you always try to concentrate because you know the shape is good. It was really amazing teamwork because Michael finished third. First and third is quite good, so thanks to the team for sure."
The 30-year-old winner, who is rumoured to be looking for a new team for next season, also acknowledged that Sunday's victory on The Mall in London has special significance among his 75 professional wins.
"Like I said last year, this is probably one of the five Classics I have in my head to win in my career," Viviani said. "Now I just need the two big ones – Gent-Wevelgem and Milan-San Remo – so I'm going to work the rest of my career for that, too, so it’s good to add another one."
How it unfolded
The 169km route in and around London was 22km shorter than the previous edition and used much of the same course as the 2012 Olympic Games road race, heading out of London to the Surrey Hills and back again for the finish on The Mall.
With teams anxious to place a rider in the breakaway to ensure an easy day in the peloton, the fight to escape was an all-out battle until Lotto Soudal’s Stan Dewulf set off on a solo move 10km into the day. He was quickly joined by Alex Doswett (Katusha-Alpecin) and Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma). The day’s escape trio took flight, and the chase was on for the rest of the afternoon.
The leaders' gap fluctuated over the next several kilometres, jumping up almost immediately to half a minute and then coming down to 10 seconds with 145km to go as more riders from the field began to attack. Julien Vermote (Dimension Data) escaped the bunch and tried to bridge, dangling in no man’s land about halfway between the breakaway and the bunch.
Up the road, the leaders' gap started to go out again and ballooned up to 2:30 with 135km remaining. Ten Kilometres later the gap to the field was well over three minutes, while Vermote continued to lose ground to the leaders in his bridge attempt.
That set the status for much of the day, as Vermote eventually faded back into the peloton and the lead trio's advantage hovered above three minutes.
The gap finally dipped below three minutes with 85km to go as Mitchelton-Scott went to the front to lead the chase. The gap was pegged at 2:20 witrh 83km to go when Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) lost the peloton’s pace on a small climb. Team Sunweb immediately went to the front of the bunch and drilled the pace, and so Ewan watched his chances for victory ride away.
Team Sunweb sprinter Michael Matthews put in a dig with just under 70km remaining, dragging along the peloton in pursuit and closing the gap to the leaders to 2:15. Matthews' move was short-lived, but 10km later Sunweb stirred the pot again with an attack from Casper Pedersen and Jumbo-Visma’s Mike Teunnisen that quickly gained a small advantage over the group.
The bridging duo gained 35 seconds on the bunch and lingered at 1:22 behind the breakaway with 55km remaining, as Bora-Hansgroghe took up chasing duties for sprinter Bennett back in the bunch, which was now 2:05 from the leaders.
Dowsett lost the pace up front in the break and started drifting back. With 50km to go, the chasing duo caught and passed Dowsett and closed to within 50 seconds of the two leaders. The peloton, however, was now just 1:10 from the front of the race.
The peloton brought Teunissen and Pedersen back into the fold with 43km to go, resetting the chase as the lead duo remained out front with a 21-second gap. Team Ineos came forward next to help with the chase, dooming the leaders’ day-long effort as the pack closed to around 15 seconds and then let them dangle.
Eenkhoorn was the first to surrender, giving in with just over 20km to go and fading back to the bunch. Dewulf continued on solo for a time, but he, too, was back in the bunch with 15km remaining, and the expected bunch sprint was inevitable.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep||3:46:15|
|2||Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|3||Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|4||Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo|
|5||Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|6||Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data|
|7||Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates|
|8||Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale|
|9||Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|10||Ethan Hayter (GBr) Great Britain|
|11||Moreno Hofland (Ned) EF Education First|
|12||Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott|
|13||Matt Walls (GBr) Great Britain|
|14||Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Team|
|15||Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida|
|16||Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Ineos|
|17||Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy|
|18||Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data|
|19||Julien Trarieux (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|20||Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale|
|21||Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|22||Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|23||Romain Cardis (Fra) Direct Energie|
|24||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team Sunweb|
|25||Gerben Thijssen (Ned) Lotto Soudal|
|26||Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-Merida|
|27||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|28||Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|29||Christian Knees (Ger) Team Ineos||3:46:24|
|30||Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||3:46:28|
|31||Dennis van Winden (Ned) Israel Cycling Academy||3:46:36|
|32||Davide Martinelli (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep||3:46:39|
|33||Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||3:46:49|
|34||Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Merida|
|35||Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|36||Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First|
|37||Filippo Ganna (Ita) Team Ineos|
|38||Iijo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-Quick-Step|
|39||Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb||3:46:54|
|40||Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale|
|41||Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy|
|42||Alexis Guerin (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|43||Casper Pedersen (Den) Team Sunweb|
|44||Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) CCC Team|
|45||Gediminas Bagdonas (Lit) AG2R La Mondiale|
|46||Michael Schär (Swi) CCC Team|
|47||Harry Tanfield (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin|
|48||Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale|
|49||Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Ineos|
|50||Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC Team|
|51||Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Bahrain-Merida|
|52||Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin|
|53||Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) CCC Team|
|54||Leonardo Basso (Ita) Team Ineos|
|55||James Shaw (GBr) Great Britain|
|56||Scott Thwaites (GBr) Great Britain|
|57||Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|58||Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data|
|59||Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|60||Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb|
|61||Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale|
|62||Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|63||Brian van Goethem (Ned) Lotto Soudal|
|64||Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Dimension Data|
|65||Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data|
|66||Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First|
|67||Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo|
|68||Connor Swift (GBr) Great Britain|
|69||Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Ineos|
|70||Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|71||Jos van Emden (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|72||Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie|
|73||Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo|
|74||Timo Roosen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|75||Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) CCC Team|
|76||Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|77||Shane Archbold (GBr) Great Britain|
|78||Daniel McLay (GBr) EF Education First|
|79||Tom Stweart (GBr) Great Britain|
|80||Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|81||Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida||3:47:07|
|82||Christopher Lawless (GBr) Team Ineos||3:47:10|
|83||Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb||3:47:16|
|84||Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott|
|85||Fabien Schmidt (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|86||Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|87||Alex Frame (NZl) Trek-Segafredo|
|88||Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy|
|89||Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data|
|90||Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy|
|91||Francisco Ventoso (Spa) CCC Team|
|92||Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb|
|93||Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First|
|94||Iuri Filosi (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|95||Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) Groupama-FDJ|
|96||Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates|
|97||Taylor Phinney (USA) EF Education First|
|98||Tom Leezer (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|99||Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|100||Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ||3:47:32|
|101||Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates||3:48:04|
|102||Tom Bohli (Swi) UAE Team Emirates|
|103||Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin||3:48:18|
|104||Brian Nauleau (Fra) Team Total Direct Energie||3:48:24|
|105||Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie|
|106||Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Direct Energie|
|107||Conor Dunne (Irl) Israel Cycling Academy||3:48:27|
|108||Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team Sunweb||3:48:38|
|109||Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin||3:49:01|
|110||Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) Katusha-Alpecin||3:49:09|
|111||Clément Carisey (Fra) Israel Cycling Academy||3:49:17|
|112||Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo|
|113||Edoardo Affini (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott||3:49:21|
|114||Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates||3:49:27|
|115||Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal||3:49:34|
|116||Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTM||3:49:52|
|117||Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott|
|118||Jens Debusschere (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin||3:50:10|
|119||Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||3:50:27|
|120||Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|121||Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|122||Gabriel Cullaigh (GBr) Great Britain|
|123||Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||50:56:00|
|DNF||Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|DNF||Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo|
|DNF||Will Clarke (Aus) Trek-Segafredo|
|DNF||Pim Ligthart (Ned) Direct Energie|
|DNF||Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie|
|DNF||Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ|
|DNF||Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|DNF||Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale|
|DNF||Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal|
|DNF||Jay Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data|
|DNF||Matti Breschel (Den) EF Education First|
|DNF||Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin|
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.
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