Alexander Kristoff sprints to RideLondon Classic 2017 victory on The Mall

Norwegian powers clear of rivals with massive sprint to claim victory

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) produced a monster sprint on The Mall to win the 2017 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic ahead of Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott) and Tour de France green jersey winner Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb).

Kristoff surged ahead of his rivals after launching his sprint with 200m to go, to claim his first win since May’s Eschborn-Frankfurt one-day race.

Part of the UCI WorldTour for the first time, it looked at one point like a late attack by Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Matteo Trentin (QuickStep Floors) would foil the sprinters but the race came back together inside the final kilometre.

Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) was the highest-placed Brit in the bunch sprint, but could not add to his two previous podium finishes as he came in 13th.

Alexander Kristoff won the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic 2017 (pic: Sirotti)

The race was punctuated by attacks in the Surrey Hills, but not before a five-man break had gone clear on the relatively flat opening part of the race – Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin), Julien Duval (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Twan Castelijns (LottoNL-Jumbo), Wesley Kreder (Wanty Groupe-Gobert) and Iljo Keisse (QuickStep Floors) going clear.

Team Sunweb were doing much of the pace-setting in the bunch, while – with Duval and Kreder dropped in the hills – Team Sky helped ramp up the pace on the Ranmore Common climb.

When the original escapees were reeled in, it laid a platform for more attacks and Trentin, Peter Kennaugh (QuickStep Floors) and Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott) were the three to earn a gap.

Kennaugh dropped back to the regrouping peloton shortly afterwards, but Stuyven bridged across shortly afterwards as the gap held at a small, but consistent 30 seconds.

Heading back into the city, Impey was dropped with 15km to go, but Trentin and Stuyven were still clear as the race approached the Mall, despite never having held too big a gap.

Bora-hansgrohe hit the front as the peloton wound up for a bunch sprint, delivering Sam Bennett at the front with 250m to go.

But Kristoff surged past and could not be caught by his sprinting rivals, Nielsen and Matthews – the latter for the second year running – rounding out the podium.

Kristoff celebrates victory – his first in the UK – on the podium (pic – Jed Leicester/Silverhub for Prudential RideLondon)

Kristoff’s win was just his second on the UCI WorldTour this season, after that victory in Frankfurt, and came after he missed out on stage success after crashes at the Tour de France.

“We weren’t able to win at all in the Tour, so we wanted to bounce back today,” Kristoff said post-race. “Today we showed we still have a good level and everybody was committed. I knew this course and knew it suited me quite well.”

RideLondon-Surrey Classic 2017: result

1) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha-Alpecin – 4.05.41hrs
2) Magnus Cort Nielsen (DEN) – Orica-Scott – ST
3) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Team Sunweb
4) Sep Vanmarcke (BEL) – Cannondale-Drapac
5) Wout Wippert (NED) – Cannondale-Drapac
6) Jempy Drucker (LUX) – BMC Racing
7) Zak Dempster (AUS) – Israel Cycling Academy
8) Sam Bennett (IRL) – Bora-hansgrohe
9) Rudy Barbier (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale
10) Oliver Naesen (BEL) – Ag2r-La Mondiale

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