There were significant delays to riders on the sportive course behind the incidents, with the men's pro race also delayed

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Sunday’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic was halted for 22 minutes this afternoon because of two serious crashes in the event’s preceding sportive.

Both crashes, one of which occurred in Pyrford near Woking, the other in Thames Ditton, required assistance from the air ambulance.

>>> Fatality confirmed at RideLondon 100 as rider suffers cardiac arrest

The South East Coast ambulance service confirmed that a male rider involved in the first crash was airlifted to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, where he remains in a serious condition.

Amateur riders were sent on a longer diversion via Old Woking to rejoin the course at Ripley following the first crash.

Following the second crash, after which another male participant was also taken to St George’s and is being treated for a head injury, sportive riders were diverted from mile 44 to mile 70.

Because of the delay, many riders were forced to walk large parts of the course for over an hour, and the Box Hill loop was removed from the sportive course.

As a result, the pro race was also halted for just under 30 minutes in West Horsley. Television pictures showed British road race champion Adam Blythe being interviewed by David Millar, who is working for the BBC at the event. Others opted to sit on the grass fields next to the road, some with slight bemusement on their faces.

A spokeswoman for RideLondon said of the neutralisation: “This was done on the advice of police on the grounds of public safety due to congestion in Dorking High Street of riders in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.

“This was caused by a combination of the delay from the earlier stop when a rider required an air ambulance and other riders who were diverted at mile 44.”

This year’s RideLondon 100 sportive featured 27,000 riders, with an estimated 3,000 taking part in the inaugural 46-mile edition, which also passes through Thames Ditton.