RideLondon success is Olympic legacy in action

04 August 2013 / 21:15

After two years of British dominance in the Tour de France, it was a French sprinter who sprung from the pack to win the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.

Arnaud Demare claimed the bunch sprint finish on The Mall, which didn't feature some of the names expected, ahead of Italian Sacha Modolo and fellow Frenchman Yannick Martinez.

Tour de France green jersey winner Peter Sagan dropped out, pre-race favourite Gerald Ciolek finished outside the top ten and Team Sky's Ben Swift was the first British rider home in tenth place.

Ramon Sinkeldam made the most of his position in a long-time breakaway to win both the King of the Mountains prize and the sprint title.

“One year after the Olympic Games this is a victory that’s a symbol of something for me,” said Demare, who dedicated to his win to long-time coach Hervé Boussard, who died in June.

“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. 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.”

But the real stars of the day were the 20,000 amateur riders, who competed over a 100 mile course staged on many of the same roads as last year's Olympic road race.

Two Olympic champions were also winners - rower James Cracknell and athlete Sally Gunnell the first male and female celebrity riders home, finishing less than five hours after they started at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

“It was just unbelievable out there,” said Gunnell, the 1992 Olympic 400m hurdles champion. “That’s what the Olympic legacy is all about.

"It is so well organised and there’s a fantastic atmosphere with all the supporters on the side of the road, and then with all the riders talking to each other and helping each other out.

“It’s just going to grow and grow and that is what we needed to do to keep that legacy growing. To put something on like this just shows how attitudes have changed, we have a real winning attitude in the country now. There are so many positives to come from it.”

© Sportsbeat 2013