The Prudential Ride London-Surrey Classic came down to an exciting 4 man sprint with Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing) taking the win. Mike Teunissen (Lotto-Jumbo) was 2nd and Ben Swift (Team Sky) took the final podium placing.
There was a fair amount of action before the eventual sprint finale as 5 riders went clear in the early part of the race. While the leaders enjoyed almost a 4 minute lead at one point, by the time the race hit the main obstacle of the day, Box Hill, the gap was only 20 seconds. Incessant attacks from the peloton saw the leaders caught and a new lead group of 14 riders formed at the top of Box Hill.
MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were in a good position as Kristian Sbaragli and Tyler Farrar both made the front split. Etixx-Quickstep missed the move though and started the frantic chase which saw the race coming back together with 42km still to go. It wouldn’t take long for the counter attacks to start and soon 8 riders went up the road.
With most of the top teams having representation in the counter move, including MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung in the form of our Italian Kristian, the chase would never start from the peloton. Coming into the final 13km, Sep Vanmarcke (Lotto-Jumbo) attacked from the lead group. It was looking good for the Belgian but with only 1.5km to go he was joined by Drucker, Teunissen and Swift.
Kristian was within touching distance of the leading 4 riders as they went under the 1km to go banner. When the 4 leaders kicked for the win just before he could make contact, he was resigned to finishing in 5th place, 3 seconds adrift of the victor. A solid result after a strong team showing by our African squad.
Kristian Sbaragli – Rider
The race was hard and I wanted to test myself on the last climb as I’m looking forward to the Vuelta. The sensations were good and was there in the first positions. I went into the break and then there was a lot of attacks near the end. Unfortunately I only came back with 1km to go. still just a few seconds behind. This was also my first race back after altitude training so I was not all that great over the last 500m and couldn’t fight for the victory. Anyway I’m confident for my next goal, the Vuelta.
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
It was a tough race on these small roads. Our boys were riding well and always we had a rider in the important moves of the day. Tyler and Kristian were very good on Box Hill and made the front group when the favourite Cavendish was behind. His team could bring the race back though. We were ready to sprint with Tyler but there were more attacks and Kristian was strong enough to get into the decisive break. Gerald and Tyler were in the small peloton just behind but the break made it with Kristian finishing 5th. This is a good result for him and he only missed the final move at the 3km to go because he didn’t react immediately. He is still a young rider and this is a learning curve for him. I am sure we will see some good thing from him at the Vuelta. All the other guys were good and did their jobs perfectly. Theo crashed in his first race back but fortunately it was nothing serious. We were visible today which was our objective in front of the many, many people here. The team showed they are in a good way before most of them start Tour of Denmark on Tuesday.