Thousands of spectators are expected to line the route of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and Classic as cycling returns to the capital on Sunday.
Part of the Mayor of London’s new cycling festival, 20,000 amateur cyclists will participate in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive, before 150 of the world’s top professionals, including Peter Sagan and David Millar, race the inaugural RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
The sportive will start at 06:00, with riders leaving the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in waves until 08:00, while the peloton will roll out of Stratford at 12:45 before an expected sprint finish on The Mall between 17:43 and 18:28, depending on the speed of the race. Scroll down for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic timings.
Otherwise, here’s our guide to six of the best places to watch the action unfold.
While friends and family are strongly advised not to accompany sportive riders to the start, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will give fans the chance to get close to Sagan, Millar et al as they emerge from the team buses ahead of the RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
The Olympic Park will also host a range of cycling activities, including bike polo, jugglers on bikes and BMX stunt shows, while you will be able to follow the race on a big screen in the gardens.
The Prudential RideLondon Festival Area will open at 11:00 and close at 16:00, giving you enough time to head to The Mall to try and catch the finish.
Kingston upon Thames
Kingston upon Thames will see riders pass through four times – twice for both the sportive and race – as they head out into the Surrey Hills before returning on the way back to the finish.
Kingston town centre will be celebrating the occasion with a range of bike-related events, family entertainment and activities, including an urban and vintage bike fair, Rollapaluza roller racing, club stalls, live music and visiting markets.
The first sportive riders are expected to cross Kingston Bridge at 07:00, with the peak flow of riders due between 07:30-09:30 as they head out into the hills. They will then return down Kingston High Street, with the first rider expected at 09:30 and the last rider scheduled to pass at 15:45.
The peloton is expected to race across Kingston Bridge at close to 13:30 and return down the high street shortly after 17:10.
The first King of the Mountains point on the course, Newlands Corner is 1.1-mile climb conducted at an average of 4.6 per cent.
The road is the A25 on any other day and so should offer plenty of vantage points. Newlands Corner sits on a ridge of the Albury Downs and offers some of the best views of the Surrey Hills.
It will, however, be difficult to access on the day because of local road closures on and around the course, but if you’re prepared to walk then you will be rewarded with stunning views – both of the Surrey Hills and the peloton, which is expected to hit Newlands Corner at 14:24 and 14:39.
Leith Hill loop
Leith Hill, which rises to the highest point in Surrey at 294m, is the most difficult climb on the route, tackled once by sportive riders and three times by the peloton as part of a 17-mile loop, giving fans the best opportunity to get close to the race.
The climb itself is 1.3 miles at an average of 6.3 per cent, but has several ramps over 10 per cent in gradient.
Organisers recommend accessing the area by train, either via Gomshall rail station near Abinger Hammer, which is on the route, or Ockley and Holmwood stations, which are approximately two to three miles east of the most southerly part of the loop.
The race is expected to take in the first ascent of Leith Hill between 14:58 and 15:18.
The centrepiece of last year’s Olympic road race route, and the scene of the race-winning attack which saw Alexandre Vinokourov triumph in the men’s race, Box Hill also features on the route of the legacy event.
However, while the ascent was tackled nine times during the men’s Olympic road race, it will be climbed only once during the sportive and RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
But the climb, with its gentle gradient, grassy banks and Alpine-like hairpins, remains a great vantage point to watch the race – scheduled to arrive between 16:30 and 17:04 – before it turns back towards the capital.
Organisers of the RideLondon-Surrey Classic are banking on a bunch sprint on The Mall to bring the inaugural event to a close. The race is expected to finish between 17:43 and 18:28 but pitch up early if you want to secure a good spot.
Earlier in the day, thousands of amateur riders will stream across the finish line having finished the 100-mile sportive. If you’re heading into the capital to congratulate a loved one, head for the meet and greet area in the Broad Walk section of Green Park.
Otherwise, wonder down to the Embankment to find another spot to see the race as it reaches its crescendo. It’s here that, if a bunch kick is on the offing, the sprint trains will going full gas in a bid to set their men up for a thrilling finale.
For full route maps and further spectator advice, visit www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk.