London's CallingWed 31 Jul 2013
One year out from the 2012 Olympic Games, London is bringing road racing back to its picturesque and esteemed city streets for both professional men and women. The Prudential RideLondon Classic is aiming to showcase past and future Olympians over a two day festival of cycling. The women will take on London on day one, while the men hit out around London and Surrey on day two. GreenEDGE is the only team sending both a women’s squad and men’s squad for the weekend.
The highly decorated women’s peloton will help kick start the festivities with the RideLondon Grand Prix on Saturday evening. Although this year’s event is only a one day race, London is already preparing for a larger scale event in 2014.
“RideLondon is a late addition to the calendar,” says Sport Director Dave McPartland. “When we got the invitation from the organization, we felt that we wanted to support a new race like this one. They’ve already started to build for next year, so this isn’t only a one year thing.”
The Grand Prix is a one hour criterium that will start and finish on The Mall with the stunning Buckingham Palace as a backdrop.
“The race is in the centre of London,” says Sport Director Dave McPartland. “It will give us awesome exposure for the team and our sponsors in that regard.”
For women’s teams with smaller rosters, many teams will be unable to field a full size squad because the Grand Prix overlaps with the Route de France.
“Jessie [MacLean], Spratty [Amanda Spratt] and Loes [Gunnewijk] will be going with just one staff member, so they will have to organize tactics themselves,” says McPartland. “I’ll leave it up to them to have a good hit out and get involved in the race. With those three, I’m 100% sure they’ll do that on their own anyway.”
On day two of the weekend’s festivities, the men will contest the RideLondon-Surrey Classic – a 221km race that is essentially a rerun, albeit an arguably more difficult one, of the Olympic Games road race.
“The race starts at the Olympic Village and heads out the same route as the Olympic Games,” says Sport Director Matt White. “Last year at the Olympics, the men did nine laps of the Box Hill circuit. Instead of doing only the Box Hill loop, they’ve added another section that will include a solid climb. Supposedly, the Leith Hill climb is harder than Box Hill, but they only do it three times. From the new circuit, they head back towards the city and finish on The Mall, just like the Olympics.”
“London will be a good way for the guys to get into the swing of things before heading into a slew of one day races,” adds White. “In August we have Hamburg and Plouay, and then we go across to Canada in September for Quebec and Montreal. It’s a good distance for the guys who are thinking about getting results at those races and in the World Championships.”
Although one of the British favourites Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma QuickStep) will not be in attendance, other fast men like Peter Sagan (Cannondale) will be ready to ride some wheelies alongside many of the local teams.
“It’s the biggest one day race in the UK for all the local teams,” says White. “I expect the local teams to take it to the pro teams. It’s going to be hard to control. It’s a long, long day on a challenging circuit. That’s sure to make for an interesting race.”
ORICA-AIS for RideLondon Grand Prix:
ORICA-GreenEDGE for RideLondon-Surrey Classic: