London-Surrey Cycle Classic 2011 photo gallery by Graham Watson>>

Mark Cavendish sprinted down The Mall this afternoon to take victory in the 140-kilometre London-Surrey Cycle Classic, the Olympic test event.

As if his status as Olympic favourite needed any more embellishment, he finished ahead of Sacha Modolo (Italy) and Samuel Dumoulin (France) in the shadow of Buckingham Palace.

“It was incredible, there was a big crowd and it was very technical,” Cavendish said at the finish.

While rival Dumoulin called him “untouchable,” Cavendish also sounded a cautionary note: “Today won’t give any indications of how the Olympic race will go.”

A late crash took one of his main rivals, Tyler Farrar (USA), out of contention.

Britain’s big day
Under blue skies, largest crowds gathered in central London, the suburbs and deepest Surrey to greet the biggest one-day race Britain has seen in over a decade.

British riders Tom Murray (Sigma Sport-Specialized), Liam Holohan (Team Raleigh) and Kristian House (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) decided to make hay in the sunshine. They were joined by Cleberson Weber (Brazil) in the day’s breakaway.

Heading through Kingston, Richmond Park and into deepest Surrey, the lead reached a maximum of six minutes before England and Great Britain started to crack the whip inside the final 60 kilometres.

2009 national road race champion Kristian House was first over both ascents of Box Hill to take the King of the Mountains award.

With the peloton bearing down on the break in the charge back to London, House was also the last man of the quartet to resist, being swept up with nine kilometres left.

After a brief solo bid by Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway) was brought back, a crash in front of grand Brompton Oratory, two kilometres from the finish, took Tyler Farrar out of contention and split the bunch.

According to Heinrich Haussler, the fall was caused by two riders fighting in the bunch. Farrar had just finished furiously chasing back on after puncturing in Richmond Park a dozen kilometres out.

With twenty-odd riders off the front of the bunch on The Mall, everything was set up for Mark Cavendish, and he didn’t disappoint.

A huge roar reverberated around the Mall as Cavendish took to the podium. Will we be seeing the same man cross the line victorious in just under 12 months’ time?

Television highlights of the London-Surrey Cycle Classic will be shown by the BBC next weekend

London-Surrey Cycle Classic 2011

1. Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) 140.3 kilometres in 3-18-11

2. Sacha Modolo (Italy)
3. Samuel Dumoulin (France)
4. Stuart O’Grady (Australia)
5. Michal Golas (Poland)
6. Borut Bozic (Slovenia)
7. Alexander Kristoff (Norway)
8. Matt Goss (Australia)
9. Ian Bibby (Motorpoint)
10. Andrew Tennant (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
13. Jeremy Hunt (England)
16. Roger Hammond (Great Britain) at 10secs
18. Russell Downing (Great Britain) at 25secs
19. Dave Clarke (Endura Racing) at 42secs
71. Heinrich Haussler (Australia) at 50secs
73. Tom Boonen (Belgium) at same time

Crowds waiting in Headley, London-Surrey Cycle Classic 2011

Crowds wait for the race to arrive on the Box Hill circuit near Headley

Escape group after first ascent of Box Hill, London-Surrey Cycle Classic 2011

Tom Murray heads the four-man escape group on the first lap of Box Hill

Bunch in Headley on first lap of Box Hill, London-Surrey Cycle Classic 2011

The main bunch chase the four leaders around Box Hill

Chris Froome chases, London-Surrey Cycle Classic 2011

Chris Froome chases the escape group. Photo: Graham Watson

Mark Cavendish wins London-Surrey Cycle Classic 2011

Mark Cavendish wins on The Mall. Photo: Graham Watson

Mark Cavendish top podium, London-Surrey Cycle Classic 2011

Mark Cavendish tops the podium, with Sacha Modolo (left) in second and Samuel Dumoulin (right) in third. Photo: Graham Watson

Related links
London-Surrey Cycle Classic 2011 photo gallery
London-Surrey Cycle Classic: The Big Preview
London-Surrey Cycle Classic training photo gallery
Box Hill set for London-Surrey Cycle Classic
Box Hill declared limited access for Olympic RR
Stars line up for Olympic Road Race Test Event

  • Ken Evans

    There were plenty of “masthead” security people about,
    “put someone in a uniform and………”

    The organization seemed to be geared to making life difficult and unpleasant for spectators.

    Cycling fans are not like football hooligans, and aren’t looking for a fight.

    The security staff need better training and preparation,
    I think that if they were made to wear fancy-dress party costumes
    they might be more friendly and behave in the spirit of the event.

    Also I don’t think that the organization was prepared for rain,
    with a lot of paper signs, all staff will need the option of waterproof clothing,
    waterproof radios, and tents to shelter in.

    Generally there was a lack of spectator signage,
    direction arrows, and race infomation.

    During the Olympics there will be visitors from all over the world,
    speaking dozens of different languages.
    The security staff could easily get things wrong,
    if they are rude and unhelpful.

    Team GB may perform at a world class level,
    but the British organization is not at the same high standard.

    While the Olympics have been used by terrorists,
    (such as in Munich 1972, and Atlanta 1996),
    99 % of visitors are there to have fun,
    and enjoy themselves.

    If the pleasure of many thousands of people is spoiled
    by what a few idiots might do,
    the the idiots have won, without even doing anything.

  • Gill

    On first hearing of Box Hill as part of the Olympic route my recent thoughts have been the excitement of getting a spot for 2012 very early roadside on the grassy bank area on the Zig Zags with a nice picnic and bottle of bubbly on a blanket and then watching the world’s elite riders cycle past 9 times. I too, had missed out on Olympic tickets, but this would be a nice consolation and I was content with this. My hopes have recently been quashed as I became aware that this area was to restricted due to the ecological sensitivity of the area which I accept and understand. I thought this wasn’t to be implemented till 2012 to deal with the expected large crowds.

    Went to Box Hill yesterday, I thought I may miss the road closure cutoff time as the trains from Clapham to Dorking weren’t running as early or as frequently and were much slower. I chose a different route and put my bike on a train to Bookham which was running to a normal Sunday timetable. I cycled up and over from Bookham into Westhumble, then to the bottom of the Zig Zags with the hope of cycling up, getting a refreshment at the top and then cycling part the way back down to watch the riders roadside. I arrived missing the 8.00 cut-off time and was diverted with others to get to the top via a track. It soon became clear that the area I wanted to watch the event from was ‘access only’ with a colour coded wristband which seemed odd for a free public viewing area, a unique situation because of the protected fragile local ecology and the numbers had to be restricted. On the track I passed this area and could see that the barriers were set well back from the road and halfway up the bank. I abandoned my plans and continued to the top where there was a well organised bike storage area with two security numbered tags issued, one for bike,one for wrist. I didn’t use this facility as I watched the riders with my bike behind a barrier opposite the memorial lookout with a view of the Downs as a backdrop, a good spot on the bend but the riders were back to decent peleton speed so it was difficult to pick out individual riders like Cav etc. Area lacked alot of atmosphere and I had no idea the woman cycling in front of the Fiat was Jeannie Longo. Afterwards I was able to ride towards Headley Common car-free and down into Mickleham but was politely stopped for safety reasons from riding up the Zig Zags as people were on their way down from the top. Did eventually do this little later after having a bite to eat at a pub in Mickleham.

    I was also sad to see the incongruous sight of high barriers across the slopes of Box Hill, and the smaller barriers along many parts of the route and in Richmond Park the day before where I had cycled early in the morning. But not as bad as the Delhi Commonwealth Games road event last year with the whole route fenced off, not a landmark insight and only the army in place around a course devoid of spectators. What ever the outcome I hope the Zigs Zags remain as part of the route.

    May I say to cycling fans both on foot and with their bikes don’t compare watching an Olympic road race with that say, of the informal nature of watching the Tour de France. I had the pleasure of watching and riding the recent Pyrenees stages of the TDF barrier-free and it was magical cycling up the Tourmalet a few hours before the riders go though, plonking my bike down and being in touching distance of the Schlecks, Contadour, Evans etc and then again the next day whizzing down the Col du Solour minutes after Thor Hoshovd’s highspeed 112kph descent. The Olympics is different and has always been an international security risk, and can be highly political. In addition to this London is vulnerable daily with high-level terrorism threats and the new added domestic threat of violent social disorder. The dry-run of events is a rehearsal to many of these problems and includes prolongued periods where the areas remains ‘sterile’.

    As an observation, I must say many of the young marshals around Box Hill although not unhelpful or unfriendly just needed to be a bit more enthusiastic and cheerful. Many looked sleepy and detached. But not sure if they were volunteer marshals for the day or actual Olympic volunteers for next year. Disappointed that BBC1 didn’t report the event on its early evening national or London news despite both Cavendish’s presence in London and his victory in the race. Both ITV and Channel 4 did on their same bulletins.

    Big screens around or commentary for 2012 whether it be Richmond Park or the top of Box Hill would be great and add to the atmosphere.

  • Gill

    Blimey was that Jeannie Longo in front of the Fiat! No one said!

    Well at least we know she will be cycling in the ladies event next year. Us ladies in our mid 40’s who have just taken up the sport need all the inspiration. She turns 53 in October (at 53 in the Olympics next year just a few months short of her 54th birthday, there is hope for us all) means that we could start training for Rio 2016! C’mon ladies.

  • Cavologuardi

    I’ve changed me mind a wee bit. The security staff were rehearsing for an event with potentially much bigger crowds than those witnessed yesterday. So apologies to the security man. He probably wasn’t a meathead after all. Although, I still struggle to see what harm it would have done to allow spectators to ride on the closed roads yesterday. And why did the roads have to remain closed for so long? What happened to rolling road blocks? Apologies also for my poor grammar – rider’s (with an apostrophe s)? Shocking stuff.

  • stuart stanton

    TV coverage on BBC next sunday. Advertised ‘highlights’ package of trial events includes womens beach volleyball and shots of the current Olympic Road Race Champion riding in a car.

  • Keith Bingham

    Tell you someone who had no trouble riding on the closed roads.
    Anyone else spot veteran French legend Jeannie Longo, the former Olympic and World road race champion, training on the course? She sped through Dorking some 45 minutes ahead of the big race, and was also spotted and photographed on the Box Hill, with a little white Fiat as following car.
    That should give Lizzie Armitstead and Nicole Cooke something to worry about, they could only recce the course by riding in the GB team car!

  • Owen

    It’s unfair to criticise the National Trust. Box hill was a site of special scientific interest before the races were announced and will be after the races have finished. Locog are entirely to blame for screwing up the spectator experience.

    On the plus side I was opposite the cricket ground at Headley where we had a great view of the race as it went by – I suspect a much better view than you would have got at Donkey Green at the top zig zags.

    Highlights for me:

    1) Obviously seeing Cav et al fly by;
    2) Jeannie Longo riding through ahead of the race followed by a fiat 500 and the ironic cheers of the crowd impatient for the main event….; and
    3)Local residents with really embracing the race – no grumbling just enjoyment.


    1) The lack of a big screen to watch the race on. LOCOG can you sort this out for the actual race;
    2) A team car almost wiping out a rider – after this year’s tdf I thought everyone agrees the safety of the riders comes first!
    3)The lack of clear directions to viewing points such as Donkey Green along with guides showing walking/riding times.

  • Doc, 1st Chard Wheelers

    Great ride Dave Clarke! Well done! Great to see Cav get the win he was after today. Everyone on Box Hill seemed to be a Cav supporter. Box Hill was great but there was loads of space in the spectator area unfilled. Lots of organistaional glitches made it difficult to plan the day properly but I am sure it will be sorted for next year,

  • Terry

    Great result but where’s the mainstream TV coverage/highlights ?

  • sam

    I agree with 1st comment, police officer said we could ride down box hill once the rcae had gone past for the last time, we turned around at the bottom to ride up and a security person told us it was against the regulations and wasn’t worth cycling back up! First race I’ve been to, very enjoyable apart from not being allowed to ride on the route before or after the race and all the red tape about health and saftey and access!

  • eric f

    Was on Boxhill. On the road the event was fine but it was not a good spectator experience. we were only a few corralled fans and it had no atmospere as a continental event would have had. Well done the National Trust for screwing up a potentially great experience

  • martyn.

    Can something be a ‘classic’ the first time it takes place? Just a thought

  • dai bananas brother

    Dai’s missus has just read the above, and she says the best thing we can do is to go off to mid-Wales for the duration of the (unprintable) Olympics and leave the jobsworths to boss each other around. A beautiful event in the form of the Tywyn Seafront Races – for example – is having to be rearranged so that these “meatheads” can have their day. Even at this stage of the game; is it worth it?

  • Cavologuardi

    Smiley police officer (after the broomwagon had been and gone): yup, feel free to ride down the closed road to Hampton to watch the rider’s on the return leg… just don’t ride like a maniac.

    Me: Thank you very much, officer.

    A couple of miles down the road, a meathead security man: get off your bike and walk.

    Me: but a police officer said I could head down this way.

    Meathead security man: the police aren’t running this, we are… get off your bike and walk.

    Me: but I’m wearing cleats.

    Meathead security man: what the £@$& are cleats? Get off your bike and walk… it’s for your health and safety.

    Me: ???

    Me to LOCOG: a little less aggravation from security please… a smile goes a helluva LOOONG way… and why not let spectators cycle on closed roads between vantage points when the broomwagon has long since passed and it is blatantly safe for them to do so?

    Bravo Cav. Good effort Kristian and Liam.