Arnaud Demare of FDR.fr has won the inaugural edition of the Prudential Ride London-Surrey Classic, the 21-year-old Frenchman eclipsing big names such as Cannondale's Peter Sagan and Gerald Ciolek of MTN-Qhubeka to prevail on The Mall.
An eight man break went early on the 221 kilometre race which started this lunchtime at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, and took in three laps of a circuit of Leith Hill and one ascent of Box Hill, before heading back into the capital.
A later attack from Demare's team-mate Yoann Offredo and Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise rider Zico Waeytens was chased down as the race headed into the heart of the capital.
Unlike last year's Olympic road race, when gold medal winner Alexandre Vinokourov and silver medallist Rigoberto Uran got away from a select group on Putney High Street and stayed away, this afternoon the peloton stayed together ahead of the finale.
Racing up Whitehall towards a final, very tight corner on Trafalgar Square from which the riders would exit beneath Admiralty Arch with a half kilometre run in to the finish line against the spectacular backdrop of Buckingham Palace, FDJ.fr and the Italian outfit Bardiani Valvole were prominent at the front of the bunch, Demare taking the win to add to his growing reputation.
Reaction and result to follow
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.