The race has a few other tricks up its sleeve, too. So, let’s see what we have to look forward to in the coming days.
RideLondon Classique comes into its own
Originally conceived as a one-day race in 2013, the Classique has evolved into a prominent fixture in women’s cycling. Rooted in the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic Games, it was designed to showcase the skill and determination of top athletes on British soil. Adding to the allure, the event boasts a generous prize purse of €100,000, making it one of the most rewarding one-day races for women in the sport.
Another particularly exciting aspect of this year’s race is the return of Lizzie Deignan to competition on home turf. Her presence will, no doubt, add an extra layer of anticipation and hometown pride to the event—more on her own high expectations for the race below.
Highlights from last year’s race
Following a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2022 instalment of the race saw Team DSM’s Lorena Wiebes blaze her way to victory, leaving a notable mark on all three stages and clinching the prestigious overall title.
The stage 3 grand finale featured a breathtaking criterium-style course that weaved through the bustling streets of London. In a heart-pounding sprint, Wiebes outpaced her competitors, Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) and Lotte Kopecky (Team SD Worx), to claim a well-deserved victory.
Lizzie Deignan’s big return!
This year, though, all eyes will be on another star rider. Lizzie Deignan, the formidable rider of Trek-Segafredo, will be participating in her first race in her homeland since the Women’s Tour back in 2021, just before she took a break for maternity leave.
Her initial return to the peloton at the Ardennes Classics and subsequently participating in La Vuelta Femenina, saw her in a supportive role. Now, though, Deignan seems ready to ride back into the spotlight. Reflecting on her recent races, she stated, “The Vuelta was all about trying to protect my GC riders, so I had a very specific job there, but I think RideLondon is probably the first race where I feel like I’ll be able to be in the mix and able to be tactical rather than just surviving.
“On my form, I’ve learned again for the second time that you can be flying in training and as fit as you want, but there’s just no replacement for racing. You can’t suffer as much as you need to, or accelerate as many times as you need to.
“I think the finesse and the race rhythm have come back really quickly so I’m excited to do RideLondon. Even in the last week, I feel like I’ve taken another step forward in my performance.”
The seasoned British cyclist was also quick to emphasise the evolution of racing during her time away from the peloton. “I think on both the men’s and women’s sides, it’s getting harder and harder,” she said.
“Everybody is pushing their limits, and the performance levels are getting stronger, particularly in women’s cycling. With the investment and changes we’ve seen in the peloton, the level of performance is deeper.
“It’s simply harder than it’s ever been before, which is great!”
We could not agree more, and we can’t wait to see the British champ in top form this weekend. In addition to Deignan’s anticipated return, several other British riders are poised to make their mark on the RideLondon Classique. Keep an eye out for Pfeiffer Georgi, the reigning 2021 national road race champion, along with the accomplished Anna Henderson, former national time-trial champion, and Alice Towers, the current national road race champion.
The route for the 2023 RideLondon Classique
The first two stages of RideLondon Classique will take place across the rolling hills in Essex, a formula that proved successful last year.
Stage 1 begins in Saffron Walden for 149.7 kilometres for a finish in Colchester, with an uphill finish in front of Colchester Castle. Stage 2 covers the east coast of Essex with the start and finish in Maldon, with the final 22 km of the 137.1-kilometre route navigating three climbs over three finishing circuits.
The race concludes on the third day in the heart of London with circuits that start and finish along The Mall, one of the world’s most famous stretches of road that runs from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square, for a total of 92 km.
Where to watch
Luckily, no matter where you are, you can tune in this year to catch all the action! The three-stage race will be shown live on the BBC. The first two days will be shown live on BBC iPlayer, the Red Button and online, while the final day will be live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and online from 15:00 BST.
Ride London Classique 2023: Stages and coverage
All times BST.
Friday, 26 May
13:15-15:15 – Stage one – Saffron Walden to Colchester (150 km) – BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport Online
Saturday, 27 May
13:00-15:00 – Stage two – Maldon (140 km) – BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport Online
Sunday, 28 May
15:00-18:00 – Stage three – eight laps of central London route (92 km) – BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport Online