7 reasons to make the RideLondon 100 your top target for 2016

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Seven reasons to make the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 your number one sportive target for summer

Win a place on the sold-out RideLondon 100 sportive with Continental

Four years on from the London 2012 Olympic Games, one of its most successful legacy events – the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive – will return for its fourth edition this year.

The closed-road sportive, which follows a route similar to that of the Olympic road race and takes in a 100-mile route through the Surrey Hills and boasts a grandstand finish on The Mall, has proved hugely popular since first launching in 2013.

RideLondon is the perfect chance to chalk up a century this summer (Pic: RideLondon)

This year’s ballot once again attracted tens of thousands, but if you missed out we’ve teamed up with event partners Continental to offer 50 places on the RideLondon start line.

We rode RideLondon in its inaugural year and it remains one of our favourite events: a century ride on closed roads, taking in some of the capital’s best sights before heading out into the hills.

Still not convinced? Here’s why the RideLondon 100 should top your priority list. Want to be on the start line? Don’t forget to enter our competition to win your place for 2016 – we’ve got 50 places up for grabs courtesy of Continental.

Riding on closed roads

There aren’t too many closed road sportives on British shores, and especially not when you head to the capital.

So when one comes along it’s an opportunity that should not be passed up in a hurry – sharing the roads with only your fellow cyclists for company is a great feeling.

Riding along a deserted A12 provides a unique experience for the riders of the RideLondon-Surrey 100

To see central London completely traffic-free is quite a sight, and a great opportunity to ride a century with only your two-wheeled companions to have to worry about.

And for those not yet ready for a century, a traffic-free 46-mile route has been newly added to this year’s event, for new and young riders (anyone over 16 can ride it) and promoted by Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Tackling a century

Riding a century is a key milestone target for most cyclists and, if you’re yet to hit 100 miles, RideLondon is the perfect chance to check it off your bucket list this summer.

A century is a milestone target for many cyclists (Pic: Roz Jones)

The mid-summer date on Sunday July 31 means there’s still plenty of time to build your form. Take advantage of longer nights for training and warmer weather through spring and summer to arrive at RideLondon in top condition.

And what better way to use your summer form, than by chalking off a 100-miler?

Following the Olympic route

The London 2012 Olympic Games seemed to captivate the whole country, and it was the road race which kicked off proceedings.

Box Hill featured on the Olympic Games route and has become a cycling mecca since

Part of the promise of the Games was the legacy they would leave – and as far as cycling goes (though not all sports have been so lucky) that has certainly been the case, with the sport now firmly past of the nation’s conscience.

Want to feel inspired? RideLondon offers the chance to pit yourselves against large chunks of the course on which Mark Cavendish, Lizzie Armitstead and co raced back in 2012.

Taking in the Surrey Hills

Box Hill has become a cycling mecca in Surrey following its inclusion in the Olympic route and is one of three main climbs on the RideLondon route, alongside Newlands Corner and Leith Hill.

Expect Box Hill to be busier on the day of the sportive! (Pic: Jules Joseph/Flickr Creative Commons)

Newlands Corner comes first, before the ascent of Leith Hill – the highest and toughest climb on the route, with an average gradient of eight per cent and some sections on the heavy roads kicking up to 18 per cent.

The zigzags of Box Hill, though not as tough, are better known of course, with an average gradient just shy of five per cent for the 2.5km climb, before the course turns back towards London for the fast run in to the centre of capital… just leave enough in the legs for the surprise climb of Wimbledon Hill.

Iconic finish

The Mall, in the shadow of Buckingham Palace, has become an iconic sporting stage in its own right to add to its historic and cultural significance.

Fans pack out the Mall in 2014, which is fast becoming an iconic stage for big sporting moments in Britain

And RideLondon offers you the chance to sample it for yourself – on the same road on which Marianne Vos won Olympic gold in 2012; Marcel Kittel won a Tour de France stage in 2014; and Paula Radcliffe set the world marathon record in 2003.

The famous avenue, lined as it is by Union Jacks, is the perfect way to mark the end of 100 miles in the saddle, offering a chance to properly celebrate your ride.

Testing route for all abilities

While it may be lack the major climbs you might find in a European sportive, the RideLondon course still isn’t one to be taken lightly and riders of all abilities will find it a challenge.

Though lacking the major climbs you’d find at a European sportive, RideLondon still offers a demanding course that deserves respect

It’s still a century, after all, and experienced riders can push themselves by targeting a fast time on closed roads and plenty of other riders to share the work, while the fact that there are only three relatively shorts climbs, mean RideLondon is still an accessible but challenging route for new cyclists.

It’s a balanced sportive which, combined with the traffic-free roads, iconic course and London landmarks, ensure it has lasting appeal.

It’s followed by the pro race

Race organisers want the RideLondon-Surrey Classic to be on the UCI WorldTour next season, and it has already thrown up some great races – not least with Britain’s Adam Blythe winning from the breakaway in 2014.

It attracts plenty of big-name riders too, with Team Sky’s Ben Swift twice on the podium, and Mark Cavendish and Philippe Gilbert among the former world champions to have taken on the race.

Fans clamour for a view of the pro race (pic: Chris Raphael/Prudential RideLondon)

Watching the professionals ride the same roads, on a very similar route to that which you’ve already taken on that morning, is nothing but rewarding – and affords the rare chance to see directly how your efforts match up to the pros.

Plus it means you can make a proper weekend of it, and – once you’ve recovered from your own efforts – watch to see who will join Arnaud Demare, Blythe and Jempy Drucker on the list of RideLondon winners.

If you’re a keen Strava user though be aware – Marianne Vos took more than 50 Queen of the Mountain titles when she rode the route in 2014.

Convinced? Win a place on the start line courtesy of Continental

We’ve teamed up with Continental tyres to offer 50 places (either for yourself, or yourself and a friend) in the RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive – just enter below to be in with a chance.

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