Arnaud Démare wins Prudential RideLondon Classic
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Sunday, August 04, 2013

Arnaud Démare wins Prudential RideLondon Classic

by Ben Atkins at 1:27 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
FDJ.fr dominates attacking race as Yoann Offredo forces its rivals into a long chase

arnaud demareArnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) won the inaugural Prudential RideLondon Classic in a bunch sprint on the Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace, after his team dominated the 221km race. The former under-23 World champion was by far the fastest of the remaining sprinters who arrived at the wide, boulevard finish, having been protected in the peloton by the presence of FDJ.fr riders in the breakaways of the day.

Sacha Modolo (Bardiani-CSF) was the best of the rest, but unable to get past the flying Démare as he tried to pass him on the right and left, with Yannick Martinez (La Pomme Marseille) in third.

“One year after the Olympic Games this is a victory that’s a symbol of something for me,” said 21-year-old Démare. “It’s even more important because I lost my trainer, who died a month ago, so it’s very emotional for me.

“The course was harder than last year at the Olympics but I was feeling great on the way back to London,” he continued. “I was at the centre of the group and I told my two teammates to open the field – I had the legs, I just needed one opportunity.

“In the final stages I thought a lot about my trainer who had been with me since I was a junior, and that carried me to the line.

“This is one of my top three victories because there were so many good riders in the race,” the Frenchman, whose previous victories in 2013 included a stage of the Tour de Suisse.

“It was an amazing race. It’s not often you get to ride in a big city on closed roads, so the speed was very high. I think this race will get bigger and bigger, and I want to come back every year with my team to win again.”

The break of the day came from Ramon Sinkeldam (Argos-Shimano), Jonathan McEvoy (NetApp-Endura), Zico Waeytens (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Dominique Rollin (FDJ.fr), Clint Avery (Champion System) Reidar Borgersen (Joker-Merida), Michael Cuming (Rapha Condor-JLT) and Connor McConvey (Synergy-Baku), who finally escaped after 44km an managed to get five minutes clear.

McConvey was dropped on the first of the three Leith Hill circuits in the mid part of the race, and they were joined by Yoann Offredo (FDJ.fr), Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) and Simon Yates (Great Britain) with 42km to go. The peloton was just 50 seconds behind, but Offredo managed to break away with Waeytens and hold off the chase until just under six kilometres to go.

There was then a late attempt from Sam Harrison (Great Britain), but the 21-year-old was only able to stay clear before being swept up with three kilometres left. Garmin-Sharp then took control of the peloton onto Whitehall, with Vacansoleil-DCM taking over across Trafalgar Square and under Admiralty Arch.

It was FDJ.fr that took the peloton into the finishing straight, however, having been able to hide in the peloton all day, with Geoffrey Soupe leading Démare into the final 200 metres. Once the Frenchman was up to speed, nobody was able to get close to him, as Modolo did his best to come around as they approached the line.

Eight riders finally escape after multiple attacks across London

Despite constant attacks as the race passed through London, it took 44km for Sinkeldam, McEvoy, Waeytens, Rollin, Avery, Borgersen, Breen & McConvey to escape. They quickly opened up a lead of more than five minutes, before Team Sky and MTN-Qhubeka took responsibility to close them down, with South African champion Jay Robert Thompson leading the peloton for several kilometres.

The lead was down to 3’30” as they headed onto the three circuits of the Leith Hill climb, with Rollin leading over the top the first time. Sinkeldam then attacked over the top the second time, which split the group in two as Waeytens and Rollin were the only ones able to follow. McEvoy fought his way across on the early part of the descent, but the breakaway group was now down to just four riders with almost 100km to go.

La Pomme Marseille then joined the chase in the peloton behind, but the gap was still 3’29” as it crossed over the top, while Avery, Cuming and Borgersen steadily caught back up to the four leaders. Orica-GreenEdge then briefly took over at the head of the peloton, cutting the gap to 3’15”, before handing over to Vacansoleil-DCM who continued to close it down slowly.

With 88km to go Matt Brammeier (Champion System) jumped ahead of the peloton, and within 5km the Irish champion was 3’04” behind the seven leaders as the peloton drifted to a further minute back.

With nobody willing to chase at this point the group’s lead over the peloton was still growing again, but Brammeier was having trouble closing the gap.

Sinkeldam punctured on the third climb of Leith HIll and was forced to chase back onto the group on the descent. Brammeier was still almost three minutes behind as he chased over the top, while the accelerating peloton was now not far behind the Irishman, with Belkin, Orica-GreenEdge and Team Sky now on the front, and was now just 3’10” back.

By the time the seven leaders hit the climb of Box Hill they were just 2’30” ahead of the pack.

Millar mixes it up on Box Hill but Offredo takes the initiative on the way back to London

David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) jumped clear of the peloton as it began the switchbacked climb, with a teammate on his wheel. This new duo was soon joined by a number of riders including Ian Bibby (Madison-Genesis), Damiano Caruso (Cannondale), Richard Handley (Rapha Condor JLT) and Offredo. This group was just 1’07” behind the leaders over the top of the climb, but was closed down soon afterwards.

Offredo then went again, with Bauer and Yates getting across the Frenchman. With 50km to go the trio was 43 seconds behind the seven leaders, and they managed to bridge across by the 42km point.

Offredo and Bauer then hit the front immediately, with the pace proving too much for Cuming, who dropped out of the group.There were then several attacks from the peloton as more riders tried to bridge the small gap, but there was little cohesion in any chase as most of the sprinters’ teams sought to keep things under control.

With 34km to go Offredo jumped clear of the break, with only Waeytens able to follow, and the rest of the group failed to react.

As Team Sky took control of the peloton, still 50 seconds behind the race leaders, Thomas Rostollan (La Pomme Marseille) attacked. The Frenchman made his way across to the remains of the breakaway, then rode straight through as the riders drifted back to the peloton.

Team Sky, Orica-GreenEdge and Cannondale were now at the head of the peloton but, with 25km to go Offredo and Waeytens had increased their lead to 1’02” as a stiff tailwind blew them back into London.

Rostollan was picked up a kilometre later, as Bardiani-CSF came up to help the chase on the outskirts of Kingston-upon-Thames, but the gap to the two leaders was up to 1’05” as Waeytens was doing all he could to hold onto Offredo’s back wheel.

There were several more attempts to escape the peloton as it wound its way towards the centre of London, but they only served to draw the peloton gradually closer to the two breakaway riders and, with 5.8km to go, they were finally caught.

Harrison attacked immediately, but the young British rider was only able to get a few seconds clear before being caught with three kilometres to go.

Millar led onto Whitehall, with teammate Bauer taking over under the flame rouge, but it was Vacansoleil-DCM that led across Trafalgar Square and under Admiralty Arch. FDJ.fr took over into the finishing straight, with Mickaël Delage winding up the peloton; Démare was tucked in behind Soupe, three riders back, and with 200 metres to go, the Frenchman opened up his sprint and was unstoppable.

Result
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ.fr
2. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
3. Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
4. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp-Endura
7. Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
8. Christian Delle Stelle (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
9. Chris Sutton (Aus) Sky Procycling
10. Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling

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