Historic race closes world’s greatest festival of cycling
30 Jul 2017, 9:38 p.m.
History was made in central London today when Britain’s first ever men’s UCI WorldTour race brought the fifth Prudential RideLondon festival of cycling to a thrilling conclusion on The Mall.
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic was the last of seven events at the end of a three-day carnival of cycling that was hailed by London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman as “the greatest cycling festival in the world”.
Now in its fifth year, the event attracted 100,000 cyclists to the roads of London and Surrey as 28,032 people finished the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and 46 sportives today.
Club riders, celebrities and amateur pedallers of all varieties were among the 23,438 who completed the longer sportive in warming London sunshine today, many thankful for the drying roads and clearing skies following Saturday’s rain.
One of those was Ben Foster, the West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper who was raising money for Cure Leukaemia in support of fellow shot-stopper Carl Ikeme of Wolverhampton Wanderers. After finishing the 100-mile challenge in just over five hours, Foster tweeted “had a great time today; don’t think Froome will be too worried”.
Norman was one of the 4,407 who finished the second 46-mile event, which was set up to encourage younger and newer cyclists into the sport, while for seven hours on Saturday some 70,000 people pedalled around 10 scenic miles of closed roads in central London, cycling for fun and fabulous family entertainment between seven Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle Festival Zones.
“This is the greatest cycling festival in the world, without doubt,” said Norman, a self-declared commuter cyclist, after completing his first ever sportive.
“Having the best cyclists in the world riding alongside tens of thousands of amateur cyclists is a celebration of cycling as a whole and shows that London is open to top-class sporting events.
“Cycling is at the heart of the Mayor’s policies and this event inspires people to begin cycling. We want to double the number of daily cycling journeys in London by 2026 and build it into people’s everyday lives.”
The capital’s packed three days of cycling action began at Lee Valley VeloPark in east London on Friday with the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix races for handcyclists, youth and BMX riders, while day two kicked off in spectacular fashion when stunt cyclist Andrei Burton and two of his incredible team smashed three Guinness World Records in less than 20 minutes at Green Park to jump start the FreeCycle fun.
Yesterday evening Coryn Rivera produced a thundering sprint down a rain-drenched Mall to win the Prudential RideLondon Classique as the American’s Team Sunweb squad shone through central London’s sodden streets in the world’s richest women’s one-day race.
There was another American triumph in the Brompton World Championship Final when track rider Elspeth Huyett was first woman home while Catalan cyclist Unai Alvarez Mosquera ended Mark Emsley’s three-year winning streak in the men’s race.
And it all came to a thrilling conclusion on The Mall this evening when Norway’s Alexander Kristoff bounced back after a disappointing Tour de France to win the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, an event featuring Australia’s Tour de France Green Jersey winner Michael Matthews, who was third for the second year in a row.
Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “Surrey has once again played host to amateur and world-famous cyclists alike riding through the county’s scenic countryside.
“It’s fantastic to see cheering crowds lining the streets as Prudential RideLondon showcases Surrey to a global audience, raising millions for charity and boosting funding for grassroots sports across the county.
“As Mark Cavendish said today – Surrey is now ‘an iconic place in the world’ for cycling.”
The ballot for next year’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 opens at prudentialridelondon.co.uk on Monday 7 August 2017.
Next year’s Prudential RideLondon festival will be held on Friday 27, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 July 2018.