By Jonny Long
A new route has been unveiled for the 2019 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic featuring five ascents of the iconic Box Hill.
The peloton have only made one ascent of the climb in each of the six previous editions of the event but will now scale it five times during this year's race.
A number of other changes have been introduced to the 2019 route, with the peloton setting off from Bushy Park in south-west London at 2pm on Sunday August 4 before heading out to Surrey and Box Hill.
While the finish on The Mall will remain, the riders will make their approach from the opposite direction, coming in from Birdcage Walk and passing Buckingham Palace before racing to the finish line.
Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the race last year, beating Deceuninck - Quick-Step's Elia Viviani in a sprint finish. Kirsten Wild (WNT-Rotor) pipped Marianne Vos (CCC Liv) to the line in the women's race.
The distance of the race has also been reduced, from 183km to 168km, and features more than 1,700m of climbing in an alteration that race organisers hope will encourage more aggressive racing. A combativity award is also being introduced for the first time.
Race director Mick Bennett said: "Box Hill is an iconic climb and I’m sure with the change we’ve made there will be a wonderful atmosphere that will greet the riders, recapturing some of that spirit of the London 2012 Olympics."
The women's race on August 3, which is part of the UCI Women's WorldTour, will also feature changes, the route still starting and finish on The Mall but with riders racing a 3.4km circuit route around St James's Park and Constitution Hill. 20 laps of the circuit will be raced over a total distance of 68km.
For the 2020 season, the women's race has been removed from the WorldTour calendar due to organisers changing the date of the race, forcing a clash with the Ladies Tour of Norway. The UCI have prioritised the Norwegian race, leaving those behind the Prudential RideLondon Classique "extremely disappointed".
The decision to move the race from its usual date to August 16 was made because organisers wanted to avoid a clash with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The UCI are keen for the race to return to the WorldTour calendar in the future, with the date change the only sticking point, saying: "Due to the popularity of the event and the quality of its organisation, the UCI hopes that conditions will allow the Prudential RideLondon Classique to return to the UCI Women’s WorldTour in future years."
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