Matthews sprints to third place in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic

Sun 31 Jul 2016

Tour de France stage winner Michael Matthews produced another classy sprint today to finish third in the bunch sprint which concluded the 2016 edition of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.

ORICA-BikeExchange worked hard together in the final part of the race to reel in the escapees and set Matthews up for sprint finish.

In the end it was Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quickstep) that proved to be the quickest, stealing the victory ahead of Mark Renshaw (Team Dimension-Data) and Matthews. 

"It was a bit of a chaotic race," explained sport director Matt Wilson at the finish. "Our guys rode amazingly, they started chasing around 60kilometres from the finish and it was touch and go whether it would be possible to catch them."

"Hats off to Team Sky, they had an awesome ride. They really surprised everyone and they took the race by the scruff of the neck.

"Our team all committed 100% today. They all thought it was worth the chase and really went for it and luckily we caught them in the last few kilometres."

As the riders passed through Admiralty Arch with a just a few hundred metres to go, the sprint opened up all across the road with Matthews tight on the right hand side, barrelling towards the line.

"Michael was a little bit too far forward," continued Wilson. "When your a bit too far forward you react to guys jumping past you and once they get a gap with 200metres to go it's hard to bring it back." 

"We are really happy to get on to the podium especially when at 50kilometres to go it looked like the race was all over." 

How it happened:

The teams arrived in London for the start of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic starting from Horse Guards Parade ahead of the 200kilometre one-day event.

Within the first 40kilometres a group of six riders broke clear, rapidly riding out to a three minute 50second advantage.

Due to an incident earlier in the day,the race was neutralised for half an hour after 45kilometres until the road was clear and the race was able to continue.

Immediately as the race restarted, Etixx-Quickstep, Team Sky and ORICA-BikeExchange began the chase having missed the move. As the peloton advanced towards the first climbs of the day the escapees advantage dropped down to just over one minute and was reduced to just four riders.

Team Sky sent Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard on the attack. Along with Patrick Bevin (Cannondale-Drapac), the trio bridged across to the four leaders with the bunch stalling over three minutes behind and less than 70kilometres left to race.

On the final climb of the day, Box-Hill, notably used in the London 2012 Olympic Games road race, British rider Thomas launched an attack and began to distance himself from the other six leaders. 

Thomas led with 45seconds over his initial breakaway companions as ORICA-BikeExchange headed to the front of the peloton and began their efforts contributing to the chase. 

The time gap dropped and as the race entered the final 20kilometres it was uncertain if the leaders would stay away. As the kilometres ticked down the gap continued to decrease.

Eventually the original escapees were reeled in and Stannard (Team Sky) also jumped clear, dangling just 30seconds ahead of the bunch with Thomas hovering at one minute.

ORICA-BikeExchange continued their hard work at the head of the race and with five kilometres to go the chase was over and the bunch was all back together again ready for a big sprint.

Hayman dropped Matthews off in prime position as the sprint opened up on both sides of the Mall. 

Matthews then used his turn of speed to haul himself towards the line, but it was Boonen who got the better of him stealing the victory with Matthews finishing in a close third place. 

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic result:

1. Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quickstep) 4:43:56
2. Mark Renshaw (Team Dimension-Data) ST
3. Michael Matthews (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST