Report/Result: RideLondon Classic

Elia Viviani sprinted to glory on The Mall in London, edging out a host of the world’s fastest cyclists in a thrilling climax to win the RideLondon-Surrey Classic road race on Sunday.

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Report/Result: RideLondon Classic

Elia Viviani, the Italian sprint master, roared to glory on The Mall, edging out a host of the world’s fastest cyclists in a thrilling climax to win the RideLondon-Surrey Classic road race on Sunday.

A year after he finished runner-up in one of the one-day races that he wanted most to win in his garlanded career, the 30-year-old Olympic track champion, fresh from a successful Tour de France, was determined to hit the top of the podium this year and did just that with the most typically beautifully timed burst to the line on The Mall, aided by some superb teamwork from his Deceuninck-Quick-Step colleagues.

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Yet just as in the women’s Classique the day before, the exciting seventh edition of the 169km race witnessed a high-speed crash in the denouement. In the Classique, the pile-up happened in The Mall itself but in the Classic, the big crash unfolded two kilometres from the finish, taking out nearly a dozen racers who were at that point jostling frantically for position outside the Houses of Parliament.

When the dust cleared, Viviani, who had avoided the mayhem, always looked the main man, and decisively struck for the line on the inside, with Irish champion, Bora-Hansgrohe’s Sam Bennett, pursuing him as runner-up and Viviani’s teammate, Denmark’s national champion Michael Morkov, finishing third.

“It was great teamwork because Michael ended up finishing third,” said Viviani, whose lead-out train headed by Czech Zdenek Stybar did the perfect job of putting him in the ideal position with 100 metres to go.

“Earlier I saw some guys go down in the crash but luckily we were on the right side and we missed it,” said a relieved Viviani.

“The team put me in a great position as we came past Buckingham Palace [just before The Mall]. I was with Iljo Keisse and Michael Morkov and we were in the middle of the group so we just missed the crash and, with the wind in my pocket, I liked the new finish.”

In 2018, the riders had hit the line from the opposite direction and Viviani ended up being pipped for victory by Germany’s Pascal Ackermann.

“This was one of the five ‘Classics’ I have in my head that I want to win in my career, so it’s good to have done it,” beamed Viviani.

“I’ve loved racing in London ever since I was here at the Olympics in 2012. I was quite young then and it was a really special course so I kept in mind this race for the future, and when it became a WorldTour one-day classic, I added it to the list of races I wanted to win.

“I really committed with the team to come here, so now I’ve won and I’m really happy. I’ve rested a bit since the end of the Tour [where he won his first stage]. It was a really tough Tour for us so I’m happy with today’s result and I will be back here to defend my title next year, 100 per cent!”

Bennett, though, was left frustrated with his second prize, revealing afterwards that he suffered a mechanical problem and had to remove a spoke from his front wheel because it had been rubbing.

“I think it [today’s race] was the only opportunity to get a one-day WorldTour win this year, so I’m disappointed not to get it,” he shrugged. “If the wheel wasn’t broken I think I could have got past him.”

Britain’s experienced 30-year-old Alex Dowsett won the Continental Tyres King of the Mountains Competition for gathering the most points in the day’s six designated climbs, including five up Box Hill, while Belgium’s Stan Dewulf took the ZIPP Combativity Award for his exhausting breakaway effort.

After the 143-strong field headed out of a new start at Bushy Park in Teddington, the first move in the opening 10km came from Lotto-Soudal’s talented young 21-year-old Dewulf, who was soon joined in his push in Weybridge by the British time trial champion Dowsett and 22-year-old Dutchman Pascal Eenkhoorn.

Having reached Box Hill in Surrey, which they were to climb over five sapping circuits, the breakaway trio managed to stretch their lead to more than three-and-a-half minutes but once the peloton started to get busy, as they scented the weakness of race favourite Caleb Ewan, their advantage was quickly cut on the third of the five ascents of Box Hill.

A week after he sprinted triumphantly down the Champs-Elysees to win the coveted final stage of the Tour de France, the Australian flyer Ewan had leaden legs and was completely dropped on the hills.

After Dowsett had won the King of the Mountains prize, his work was done and he let the other two go but their slender advantage soon evaporated as the powerful teams with the main sprinters allowed the duo to dangle at the front on the road back towards central London.

“The plan today was to go for the early break,” said Dowsett. “We discussed what to do among ourselves and decided to share the points. I think I was possibly the older and wiser one, so I made sure I was second up each climb and did everything to secure the overall by winning the last set of points.

“The lights went out on the final climb of Box Hill but for me to get a King of the Mountains is fairly unheard of so I’ll savour this and bask in my own glory for years to come,” smiled the renowned time trialler.

Dewulf, the original instigator of the attack, fittingly found himself the last to be swallowed up by the peloton with 14km left and deservedly won the ZIPP Combativity Award, having been at the head of affairs for more than 140km.

“I felt strong and I had a chance to go in the breakaway and I took my chance and I felt quite good but with three guys it was quite tough,” said the Belgian.

“There were a lot of people out here and at the start, and on the circuits of Box Hill. It was really nice, I enjoyed it and I hope to be back next year.”

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1 Elia Viviani Deceuninck – Quick Step 03:46:15
2 Sam Bennett Bora – Hansgrohe
3 Michael Mørkøv Deceuninck – Quick Step
4 Jasper Stuyven Trek – Segafredo
5 Amund Grøndahl Jansen Team Jumbo – Visma
6 Giacomo Nizzolo Team Dimension Data
7 Alexander Kristoff UAE Team Emirates
8 Oliver Naesen AG2R La Mondiale
9 Jasper De Buyst Lotto – Soudal
10 Ethan Hayter Great Britain
11 Moreno Hofland EF Education First
12 Daryl Impey Mitchelton – Scott
13 Matthew Walls Great Britain
14 Jonas Koch CCC Team
15 Sonny Colbrelli Bahrain – Merida
16 Kristoffer Halvorsen Team Ineos
17 Davide Cimolai Israel Cycling Academy
18 Ryan Gibbons Team Dimension Data
19 Julien Trarieux Delko Marseille – Provence
20 Julien Duval AG2R La Mondiale
21 Nikolas Maes Lotto – Soudal
22 Alessandro Fedeli Delko Marseille – Provence
23 Romain Cardis Total Direct Energie
24 Joris Nieuwenhuis Team Sunweb
25 Gerben Thijssen Lotto – Soudal
26 Yukiya Arashiro Bahrain – Merida
27 Zdenek Stybar Deceuninck – Quick Step
28 Mike Teunissen Team Jumbo – Visma
29 Christian Knees Team Ineos @ 10 secs
30 Roberto Ferrari UAE Team Emirates @ 14
31 Dennis Van Winden Israel Cycling Academy @ 22
32 Davide Martinelli Deceuninck – Quick Step @ 25
33 Marco Marcato UAE Team Emirates @ 35
34 Phil Bauhaus Bahrain – Merida
35 Arnaud Démare Groupama – FDJ
36 Sep Vanmarcke EF Education First
37 Filippo Ganna Team Ineos
38 Iljo Keisse Deceuninck – Quick Step
39 Roy Curvers Team Sunweb @ 40
40 Stijn Vandenbergh AG2R La Mondiale
41 Tom Van Asbroeck Israel Cycling Academy
42 Alexis Guérin Delko Marseille – Provence
43 Casper Pedersen Team Sunweb
44 Nathan Van Hooydonck CCC Team
45 Gediminas Bagdonas AG2R La Mondiale
46 Michael Schär CCC Team
47 Harry Tanfield Team Katusha – Alpecin
48 Nico Denz AG2R La Mondiale
49 Diego Rosa Team Ineos
50 Lukasz Wisniowski CCC Team
51 Marcel Sieberg Bahrain – Merida
52 Jenthe Biermans Team Katusha – Alpecin
53 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck CCC Team
54 Leonardo Basso Team Ineos
55 James Shaw Great Britain
56 Scott Thwaites Great Britain
57 Julien El Fares Delko Marseille – Provence
58 Julien Vermote Team Dimension Data
59 Philippe Gilbert Deceuninck – Quick Step
60 Nikias Arndt Team Sunweb
61 Ben Gastauer AG2R La Mondiale
62 Olivier Le Gac Groupama – FDJ
63 Brian Van Goethem Lotto – Soudal
64 Rasmus Fossum Tiller Team Dimension Data
65 Mark Renshaw Team Dimension Data
66 Alberto Bettiol EF Education First
67 Edward Theuns Trek – Segafredo
68 Connor Swift Great Britain
69 Ian Stannard Team Ineos
70 Michael Hepburn Mitchelton – Scott
71 Jos Van Emden Team Jumbo – Visma
72 Fabien Grellier Total Direct Energie
73 Koen De Kort Trek – Segafredo
74 Timo Roosen Team Jumbo – Visma
75 Gijs Van Hoecke CCC Team
76 Cameron Meyer Mitchelton – Scott
77 Shane Archbold Bora – Hansgrohe
78 Daniel McLay EF Education First
79 Thomas Stewart Great Britain
80 Maarten Wynants Team Jumbo – Visma
81 Heinrich Haussler Bahrain – Merida @ 53
82 Christopher Lawless Team Ineos @ 56
83 Michael Matthews Team Sunweb
84 Jack Bauer Mitchelton – Scott
85 Fabien Schmidt Delko Marseille – Provence
86 Robert Stannard Mitchelton – Scott
87 Alex Frame Trek – Segafredo
88 Guy Sagiv Israel Cycling Academy
89 Tom Jelte Slagter Team Dimension Data
90 Krists Neilands Israel Cycling Academy
91 Francisco Ventoso CCC Team
92 Lennard Kämna Team Sunweb
93 Sebastian Langeveld EF Education First
94 Iuri Filosi Delko Marseille – Provence
95 Daniel Hoelgaard Groupama – FDJ
96 Oliviero Troia UAE Team Emirates
97 Taylor Phinney EF Education First
98 Tom Leezer Team Jumbo – Visma
99 Pascal Eenkhoorn Team Jumbo – Visma
100 Ramon Sinkeldam Groupama – FDJ
101 Sven Erik Bystrøm UAE Team Emirates
102 Tom Bohli UAE Team Emirates
103 Marco Haller Team Katusha – Alpecin
104 Bryan Nauleau Total Direct Energie
105 Angelo Tulik Total Direct Energie
106 Niccolo Bonifazio Total Direct Energie
107 Conor Dunne Israel Cycling Academy
108 Martijn Tusveld Team Sunweb
109 Alex Dowsett Team Katusha – Alpecin
110 Mads Würtz Schmidt Team Katusha – Alpecin
111 Clément Carisey Israel Cycling Academy 0
112 Alex Kirsch Trek – Segafredo 0
113 Edoardo Affini Mitchelton – Scott
114 Rui Oliveira UAE Team Emirates
115 Stan Dewulf Lotto – Soudal
116 Ramunas Navardauskas Delko Marseille – Provence
117 Michael Albasini Mitchelton – Scott
118 Jens Debusschere Team Katusha – Alpecin
119 Andreas Schillinger Bora – Hansgrohe
120 Erik Baska Bora – Hansgrohe
121 Jempy Drucker Bora – Hansgrohe
122 Gabriel Cullaigh Great Britain
123 Michael Schwarzmann Bora – Hansgrohe
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