Race report

A crash in the finale ruins Michael Matthews sprint chances in London

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic

The organisers changed the route for this year’s race, focusing on loops based around the Box Hill climb before a final 50 kilometre dash to London. It took a while for the breakaway to form with several teams and riders hoping to get clear but ultimately it was only a trio of riders that made the move. They were kept close for a while but the peloton eventually let their gap grow to over three minutes as they hit Box Hill for the first time.

As the ascents ticked by, the gap was slowly whittled down but the majority of the peloton seemed happy to ride tempo. The team made a few efforts to make the race more difficult, with Michael Matthews and Nikias Arndt both applying the pace at the head of the peloton on the climb. Over the penultimate ascent Casper Pedersen broke clear along with Teunissen in an attempt to force the other sprint teams to chase and keep the pace high.

They survived for a while but with around 40km to go the peloton caught them. With only the remnants of the earlier breakaway ahead, the bunch set about reeling them in for the finale. With ten kilometres to go the team started to move Matthews up for the sprint finish. Unfortunately, their progress was halted with around two kilometres to go as a crash stopped Matthews on the left hand side of the road, meaning he was unable to contest the finish. The crash stopped around two-thirds of the peloton, with Joris Nieuwenhuis the only rider left in what remained of the front group for the team, which ultimately saw the young Dutch rider our first finisher on the day.

“The day didn’t really go according to plan; we wanted to make it hard on the climb but we were a little bit caught out of position on a few of the laps which made it difficult to do that,” explained Matthews at the finish. “In the final we were in a good position but a massive crash in front of me unfortunately took me out of the race. I was lucky enough not to go down but they crashed all around me and I couldn’t do anything any more.”

Team Sunweb coach Matt Winston added: “I think we showed some good teamwork today and we tried to make the race harder in the loops. Casper went into the breakaway to try and force the peloton to chase harder, and set Michael up for the finish. With ten kilometres to go we moved up on the good side of the road for the lead out, with still all seven guys there. Unfortunately, Michael was caught behind the crash which pretty much blocked the road with two kilometres to go. Joris was still in the front group so did the sprint but it obviously wasn’t what we came for. Thankfully, everyone is ok and we put in a good performance before the crash.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VIVIANI Elia Deceuninck - Quick Step 3:46:15 300
2 BENNETT Sam BORA - hansgrohe ,, 250
3 MØRKØV Michael Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 215
24 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team Sunweb ,, 12
39 CURVERS Roy Team Sunweb 0:39 5
43 PEDERSEN Casper Team Sunweb 0:40 5
60 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb ,, 1
83 MATTHEWS Michael Team Sunweb 1:01 -
92 KÄMNA Lennard Team Sunweb 1:02 -
108 TUSVELD Martijn Team Sunweb 2:23 -