Frenchman Arnaud Démare capped a fine team performance from FDJ as he won the inaugural Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic on The Mall this afternoon.
The 2011 Under-23 world road race champion edged out Italian Sacha Modolo (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) and Yannick Martinez (La Pomme Marseille). Ben Swift (Sky) was the highest British finisher in 10th.
Démare’s team played an intelligent race throughout, and managed to get Dominique Rollin in the early break. It took 44 kilometres before the escape formed; Brits Jonny McEvoy (NetApp-Endura) and recent Tour of Taiwan winner Michael Cuming (Rapha Condor-JLT) were among those who found their way into the eight-man group.
Behind, the peloton never let the escapees gain a significant advantage, and the pacesetting at the front of the bunch was shared throughout by Sky, Orica-GreenEdge and Vacansoleil-DCM.
Irish champion Matt Brammeier (Champion System) attempted to bridge across to the leaders during the three laps of the Leith Hill circuit, but could only get to within two minutes of the escapees before eventually being caught by the peloton.
The peloton fragmented significantly on Box Hill, with David Millar one of the instigators. His Garmin-Sharp team-mate Jack Bauer counter-attacked through Headley, taking Yoann Offredo (FDJ) and Simon Yates (Great Britain) with him, and that trio caught the breakaway (now minus of Synergy Baku’s Connor McConvey) on the approach to Cobham 41 kilometres from the finish.
This gave FDJ the numerical advantage up front, which helped Offredo break clear with early escapee Zico Waeytens (Topsport Vlaanderen) on the approach to Kingston.
Sky began chasing inside the final 30 kilometres, and were helped by Modolo’s Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox team.
However, the leading two continued to extend their advantage – thanks largely to Offredo’s work – and entered the final 20 kilometres with a 1-13 gap. Only once the peloton approached Wimbledon did the gap start to fall, and the bunch reeled in the two leaders as the race reached Millbank.
Millar led the peloton through Westminster, but as the race hit Whitehall, FDJ came to the fore and delivered Démare brilliantly.
Earlier in the day, 15,000 riders – including Mayor of London Boris Johnson – completed a 100-mile closed-road sportive based on the elite race route.
Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic 2013
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
2. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
3. Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
4. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale
5. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Zak Dempster (Aus) NetApp-Endura
7. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
8. Christian Delle Stelle (Ita) Bardiani Valvolve-CSF Inox
9. Chris Sutton (Aus) Sky
10. Ben Swift (GBr) Sky
Laura Trott wins Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix
Gerald Ciolek predicts sprint finish in inaugural Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic
How the Prudential RideLondon went from bold idea to reality
RideLondon-Surrey Classic provisional start list
WorldTour teams for RideLondon-Surrey Classic
Sam Harrison aiming to make impression at RideLondon-Surrey Classic
Peter Sagan to start RideLondon-Surrey race
Prudential RideLondon details announced
50,000 register for RideLondon cycle challenge