Tom Boonen wins RideLondon-Surrey Classic after Geraint Thomas fails with solo attack
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 31/07/16 7:33pm
Belgium's Tom Boonen sprinted to victory in the RideLondon-Surrey Classic on Sunday after Geraint Thomas failed with a long-range solo attack.
Thomas (Team Sky) accelerated out of a breakaway group of seven with just over 50km remaining and looked on course for victory when he built up a lead of more than one minute over his closest chasers and three minutes over the peloton.
But the bunch soon stepped up the pace and caught the Welshman with about 5km to go to set up a sprint finish, which Boonen (Etixx - Quick-Step) comfortably won ahead of Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data) in second place and Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange) in third.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished in the peloton in 41st place in his first race since winning the Tour de France seven days ago and will now fly out to Rio on Monday morning ahead of Saturday's Olympic Games road race and the Olympic time trial on Wednesday, August 10.
Sunday's race was halted for more than 20 minutes with 53km of the 202km distance completed due to back-markers from the amateur sportive earlier in the day still being on the road ahead.
Riders were left sat on the grass by the roadsides waiting for racing to resume, while Froome passed the time by posing for photos with passers-by.
Thomas, who launched his attack on Box Hill, said: "We wanted to make it hard. On Box Hill I just wanted to test the group and maybe get rid of a few people who were just sitting on, and I ended up on my own. I thought, 'I've bought my ticket now, I just have to go'.
"Oh man, it was just super-hard. I was always going to be up against it with the sprinters' teams. For sure, it would have been better if I had just waited and gone with 20km to go rather than 50km to go on my own.
"It's a long way, but I was hoping it was going to split behind and maybe two would come across to me. As it turned out, it was just me on my own all the way."
Boonen's victory was his second of the season and he now joins Mark Cavendish, Arnaud Demare, Adam Blythe and Jean-Pierre Drucker on the list of RideLondon-Surrey Classic winners.
"It was a very hard day," Boonen said. "Everybody was really nervous today and trying to do well. There was a mix of big teams coming out of the Tour and smaller teams wanting to prove themselves.
"In the end, we got the control back and with 35km, 30km to go we started to look better that we were going to chase them back, and at 5km we did."
RideLondon-Surrey Classic result
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step, 4:43:56
2 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data, same time~
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange, st
4 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal, st
5 Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice, st
6 Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani-CSF, st
7 Floris Gerts (Bel) BMC Racing, st
8 Tobyn Horton (GB) Madison Genesis, st
9 Steele von Hoff (Aus) ONE Pro Cycling, st
10 Mark McNally (GB) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, st
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