Prudential RideLondon Classic 2014 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Prudential RideLondon Classic 2014 Preview

By David Hunter

The riders head to London for the 3rd running of this race.


Like the other editions, we have a challenging middle section with some short, steep climbs. The only problem for the punchers is the 50km run to home. Both editions of the race have ended in sprint finishes with Cavendish winning in 2011 and Demare in 2013. It seems very likely we’ll get another sprint.

The final climb, Box Hill, is 2.5km at 4.9%, with a maximum of 10.9%. It’s very difficult for amateur riders but won’t be a problem for the professional peloton.


As usual the race comes back into London, beside the Thames, going past Westminster, then taking the left turn into The Mall. Despite looking very tight, the corner is taken at high speed. The riders then have around 600 metres of a finishing straight. To win the race you need to be in the top 10 riders coming out of the corner.

Last year the race was full of excellent sprinters but the field isn’t as stellar this year. The top sprinters in the race are: Ben Swift, Mark Renshaw, Caleb Ewan, Elia Viviani, Sam Bennett, Van Staeyen, Jonas Ahlstrand and Benjamin Giraud.

Certainly, the team with the best sprint train is OPQS. With Renshaw is Petacchi, Alaphillipe, Fenn, Vandenbergh and Steegmans. This is a very strong team. Petacchi knows the roads of London well and he’ll ensure Renshaw, is in a great position on the finishing straight. Renshaw looked in great form in the Commonwealth Games, but was out of luck. His tour form will still be there and he looks certain to finish in the top 3.

Caleb Ewan is riding his first race for Orica. He comes with a massive amount of expectations, but won’t be put off by this. One issue is team strength. Orica only have 5 riders: Meier, Lancaster, Simon Yates, Ewan and Docker. I think they’ll try and put him on the wheel of Renshaw and let him do the rest.

Sam Bennett has been wonderful this season, with 3 wins to his name. This is his first race since 12th June, so don’t expect too much of him. If his legs are good he should be looking at a top 5 position.

Ben Swift had a whole load of bad luck in the Tour of Poland. He looks good compared to the other sprinters here but doesn’t come with a great train. Will Wiggins try to lead him up The Mall?

Elia Viviani is probably the fastest rider here, on paper. Far too often he lets himself down with terrible positioning but given the correct lead-out, he can be very good. What will we get from him?

There are some riders from the British teams who could finish in the top 10: Scully, Briggs, Opie, Blythe, Bialoblocki and McLay.

Former World Champion, Philippe Gilbert, is also here but looking short of fitness.

Belkin arrive with Van Der Lijke slowly improving his sprinting form, but have riders in Ten Dam, Clement and Kruijswijk who will try and animate the race, in the hilly section. Van Der Lijke showed some promise in the Tour of Wallonie and will look to continue this here but Belkin’s best hopes will be to disrupt the expected sprint.

Benjamin Giraud of La Pomme Marseille is a promising rider. He is a quick sprinter and can produce on the big stage. If his team can deliver him to the front of the race, he should achieve a high finish.

Prediction time.

The race looks likely to end in another sprint. Mark Renshaw should really be the favourite, considering his team. The big question is whether Ewan or Viviani can move past him in the sprint finish? They won’t have that much time to do so as Petacchi will deliver a perfect lead-out and Renshaw should really be able to finish it off. My concern for Renshaw is the blistering pace of young Caleb Ewan. If he is on the wheel of Renshaw, I think he wins the race. So, my pick is Caleb Ewan.

That bring said, I’ve just seen the weather for the race and it’s heavy rain and wind. This increases the chance of a breakaway win and also brings Sam Bennett more into play. The rain and wind make the race almost impossible to predict!

David Hunter

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