Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek believes tomorrow’s inaugural Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic will replicate the Olympic test event of two years ago and be decided by a bunch sprint.
Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) goes into the event as one of the pre-race favourites, and told journalists in Stratford this afternoon that he believes a bunch gallop is on the cards.
“We have seen that the Olympic road races more or less ended in a sprint, so I think we can expect that on Sunday,” he said.
“Here you only have seven WorldTour teams, so the level may not be as high as a WorldTour race. That may make it easier to control the racing, as some riders don’t have the distance in their legs because of the crit racing [in Britain].
“For us, this is not a small race, this is one of our big goals for the season.”
UK Youth’s Yanto Barker, also at the pre-race press conference, agreed with Ciolek’s predictions about how the action will play out.
“It depends on the bigger teams and how they influence it. They may dictate the majority of the race. Like the Olympic and tomorrow, there’s a long run in, which will help to close any gaps,” said Barker, who also admitted that the race is not comparable to the Tour of Britain.
“For us, they’re all big events. There’s a sense of professionalism we have to display. The live TV is always a plus, and the charity and team will be hoping for good coverage, so we’ll be hoping to perform in that sense. As a UCI continental team, they all go into a big category.”
Sunday’s event will be run with a UCI 1.1 ranking, the third-best status available, an race director Mick Bennett told journalists that he is still seeking a WorldTour ranking.
“I would like to see it hors catégorie for 2014, then for it to be considered WorldTour in couple of years.
“We want the top teams to have to ride it [as they would if it were a WorldTour event]. To get it to that level, maybe we’ll have to make it tougher.
“It’s always difficult in year one; nobody knows what it is. It’s also difficult to find a slot on the busy calendar. The Tours of Poland and Denmark are on at the same time – WorldTour teams had to go to Poland, and others like Omega Pharma-Quick Step committed to Denmark months ago. Most teams can only do two programme at any one time.”
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