Prudential RideLondon has announced that Mark Cavendish will ride this year’s RideLondon-Surrey Classic on 2 August – part of the world’s largest festival of cycling.
Cavendish’s Etixx - Quick-Step team is the first big signing for the men’s professional race, which will see 25 six-rider teams take on a challenging 200km course out of London, around some of Surrey’s biggest hills and then back to a fast, flat finish in front of Buckingham Palace.
Mark Cavendish is the first big-name rider to throw his helmet into the ring for the RideLondon-Surrey Classic
Cavendish said: “I can’t wait to ride this year. After only two years, this race is already an event every rider wants to win and you can’t beat racing in front of British crowds. After missing out in 2014 I was determined to ride in 2015.”
Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic race director, Mick Bennett, said: “We’re delighted to have Mark Cavendish in this year’s field. He’s not just a great sprinter but he’s also a very good climber on this type of terrain and this route should suit him very well.
“The extra circuit of the climb to Ranmore Common that we’ve added to the route this year brings a whole new dimension to a great race. That’s where Team Sky and BMC shook up the race last year and I’m sure teams will do the same again this year. We are set for something very special on 2 August.”
Being a UCI Europe Tour category 1.HC race and offering the highest prize of any one-day Classic, the event is indeed sure to tempt a strong field of recognisable names to the streets of London.
For 2015, the professional RideLondon-Surrey Classic will start at the iconic location of Horse Guards Parade in central London before going out through the capital to Kingston upon Thames into Surrey and the climb of Staple Lane in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The peloton then races through Dorking before taking the southern loop and the ascent of Leith Hill, the highest point in Surrey.
The route is now a full 200km finishing with a spectacular finale on the Mall
With three circuits of the northern loop (one more than 2014) through Dorking and up the testing climb to Ranmore Common, this year’s race is set to be a true Classic. The race then heads to the famous zigzags of Box Hill then through Leatherhead, Oxshott and Esher before the riders race back through Kingston upon Thames to central London, through Raynes Park, Wimbledon, over Putney Bridge and alongside the River Thames through Chelsea.
The closing stages of the race go through Parliament Square and up Whitehall to the famous 1km to go marker before Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and the final sprint along The Mall towards Buckingham Palace and the finish line.
The RideLondon-Surrey Classic will take place just hours after the mass participation RideLondon-Surrey 100, which will see over 25,000 amateurs – a 25 per cent increase on 2014 – test themselves against a similar route ahead of the pros.
Last year’s event saw 20,709 riders raise more than £10 million for charity, breaking the UK fundraising record for a one-day cycling event that was set in the inaugural year.
RideLondon also includes a family-friendly closed-course Freecycle event – expected to court over 70,000 cyclists – as well as Grand Prix criterium races, which incorporate women’s pro racing and the 10th Brompton World Championship.
This spectacle of folder-riding athleticism will feature 575 smartly attired riders (no Lycra allowed) battling it out for the world title over a central-London course. Registration is now open for the event, with a ballot deciding the final competitors. Previous winners include Roberto Heras, the three-time winner of the Vuelta a España, and the British racing cyclist and writer Michael Hutchinson.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Once again the capital's streets will be packed with roaring crowds as they cheer on some of the world's top cyclists, including our very own Mark Cavendish, who will no doubt race up The Mall faster than a rocket.
“London has consistently proved that it can host world-leading sporting and cultural events and Prudential RideLondon is another showcase piece for the capital, helping to boost tourism, drive economic benefit and inspire more and more people out onto their bikes.
“It is a weekend festival of cycling offering something for everyone from the uber-competitive professionals, to the committed daily commuter, to families looking for a fun day out.”
Prudential RideLondon event director, Hugh Brasher, said: “In just two years, Prudential RideLondon is now internationally recognised as the world’s greatest and largest festival of cycling and 95,000+ riders will cycle more than 3 million miles over the weekend of 1-2 August. It is all about inspiring a new generation of cyclists and riders such as Mark Cavendish will do that.”
Billed as the world’s largest festival of cycling with over 95,000 riders taking part and more than three million miles set to be covered on the weekend of 1-2 August, there really is something for everyone from the bike curious to hardiest of competitors.
Check out some highlights from the 2014 Prudential RideLondon to find out more about what’s in store.