The Ride London Classic came to an end with an exciting sprint finish which Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quickstep) won. Mark Renshaw was able to net another good result for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka by finishing a close 2nd. 3rd place went to Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange).
The riders were welcomed by some warm British weather as the 202km classic got underway in London this afternoon. After a number of early attacks, eventually 6 riders were able to go clear from the peloton. As they rode ahead to a 3-minute lead, the race was making its way toward the hills in the Surrey countryside.
Just before the climbing began, the race was neutralised for close on 30 minutes. A crash in the cycle sportif which was taking place ahead of the main race being the reason. Racing got underway once again and then it was not long until things started to get heated.
Team Sky, as the favourite local team, began to make an impression on the race by upping the tempo on the positive gradients. With 90km to go, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) put in a stinging attack which ripped the peloton apart. Thomas kept the pressure on as teammate, Ian Stannard and Patrick Bevin (Cannondale) rode across to the early break.
With 45km to go, Thomas attacked the break as the peloton was trying to get organised some 3-minutes behind. Our African Team were able to regroup in the peloton and we proceeded to combine well with Orica-BikeExchange and Etixx-Quickstep in leading the chase. Nic Dougall was our rider doing some good work at this point in the race.
As the remnants of the chase were caught with around 9km to go, Thomas had 30″ to play with but today, it would prove to be too little. A 70 rider peloton came charging through Trafalgar Square and a sprint finish would decide the race. Our African Team had Tyler Farrar, Jay Thomson and Matt Brammeier helping to position Renshaw for the final before he found the wheel of Matthews in the final kilometer.
Renshaw was able to come off the wheel of Matthews and launched a powerful sprint in pursuit of victory. Boonen was the rider who got the timing just right though as he was able to come passed Renshaw in the final 30 meters of the race to take a good win. Renshaw followed the Belgian home to take an excellent 2nd place for our African Team.
Mark Renshaw – Rider
The race was really fast from the start. Team Sky set a hard tempo all day, of course setting it up for Geraint Thomas to attack. We missed that move and 20 guys got away so we were quite lucky to come back into the race there. With a few a sprint teams working to make it a sprint, like Orica and Etixx, we were quite fortunate to come back into it for the sprint as well. In the final 5km Tyler Farrar helped me a lot, he put me in the perfect position for the final. I started my sprint from 200 meters and as soon as I moved Tom Boonen came through with much more speed. There was no chance really to beat him, once I opened the door next to the barrier for him. I am happy with 2nd though as it’s the first race back after the Tour.