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

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  • SteveO

    I’m afraid I have to say I was very disappointed with the BBC coverage. The coverage of the olympic RR was terrible, but that was a year ago. Surely that was more than long enough ago to watch a few races covered by Eurosport to see it done properly? How can the average casual viewer be anything other than bemused by why cycling is popular when the race was so very hard to follow? What happened to the favourites? What were the tactics and more importantly the time gaps to breaks? All you are left with are a bunch of cyclists riding through some pretty countryside. The ITV4 coverage of the Tour was far far better, despite plenty of mis-calls (that Sean Kelly would never make!). This isn’t the fault of the presenters though. Rob Hayles knows what’s what. He wasn’t getting any info it seems, but has to be diplomatic to keep his job. I’d be screaming at the beeb for lack of info! They need to get it together, or get some advice on how to cover a cycle race. Maybe they shouldn’t have got rid of Hugh Porter?!

  • Mark Jones

    Take it out of London and there won’t be the same interest. The BBC wouldn’t be so keen to show the race at tea time on BBC and then there’s the issue of all the sportive riders. I agree about making it more difficult though and I think the organisers will have to do that if they are to get the World Tour status they’re after (i think they’ve even said that themselves). They probably organised the route around a Mark Cavendish win.

  • Ken Evans

    For the race to end in a bunch sprint shows that the course/race wasn’t very selective. More hills, a longer course, or a hill top finish, would make for a race where so many riders didn’t all believe before the start that it be a sprint finish. There were huge crowds last year at the Tour of Britain final stage in Surrey, does this event really have to finish in the very centre of London, or could it be at the top of a hill in Surrey ???

  • Mark Jones

    A well deserved win as FDJ were by far the best team throughout the race. Nice to hear him say he wants to return to defend his win next year and beyond. It took a long time to get going with the break only happening in the last 5 minutes of the first section of BBC1 coverage, so well done to Simon Brotherton for keeping the commentary as interesting despite this. Pity Millar’s attempt on Box Hill didn’t stay away for longer. Team Sky were a let down once again having sent such a low-key squad, so let’s hope they have some of their best riders to support Wiggo at the Tour of Britain next month. Disappointed not to see Cav too, but hopefully next year. This was a very good event and will hopefully get much bigger and better if the organisers get HC status next year, which it truly deserves. The BBC did a pretty good job overall considering they have little experience of this and hopefully the coverage will be better still next year (sound proofed studio to drown out that annoying PA bloke, uninterrupted coverage on BBC1 throughout, better camera work in the final 20 kms, better information passed to the commentators oh and I get Ned or Matt in so we don’t get those awful post-race interviews from Jill Douglas again). But much better than the shambolic job they did with the Olympic Road Race last year. See it’s scheduled for 9-10 August next year, but if they could make it a week later in the future then that would give more time for riders to recover from the Tour and more time after Poland and Denmark. Well done to Boris for having the vision to organise this and hopefully within 5 years it will be a top-quality World Tour race.