RideLondon Classique: Charlotte Kool wins reduced bunch sprint on stage 1

Charlotte Kool (Team DSM) won stage 1 of the RideLondon Classique from Saffron Walden to Colchester in the sprint of a group of 16 riders, beating Clara Copponi (FDJ-SUEZ) and Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo).

A total of 14 riders had attacked from the peloton with 29 km to go and were later joined by Chloé Dygert and Maike van der Duin (Canyon-SRAM). On the narrow, winding roads of Essex, they managed to eke out a 30-second advantage on the peloton and held that to the finish.

In Colchester, Copponi launched the sprint, but Kool came around the Frenchwoman to win the stage and take the overall lead.

“We tried to keep a steady gap to the three in front. Then it kind of went into full racing, we had to adapt a bit, but we were there with the right girls, and then we have to finish it off. Pfeiffer [Georgi] did a perfect leadout, she showed again that she is one of the best lead outs in the world,” Kool, the new GC leader, said.

“For us, it was not really a problem if the rest would come back. But it was nice to race a bit, it was a really nice final. And it’s a dream start, it couldn’t be better."

How it unfolded

Francesca Morgans-Slader (AWOL O’Shea) and Hanna Johansson (Torelli) went away very early on the 146.4km stage. Scarlett Souren (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Danielle Shrosbree (DAS-Handsling) went on the chase, but only Shrosbree made it to the front group where Johansson won the first two QOM sprints and will wear the orange-blue QOM jersey on stage 2. Their advantage maxed out at 2:45 minutes.

Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo), Mari Hole Mohr (Team Coop-Hitec Products), and Arianna Fidanza (Ceratizit-WNT) were among the riders who had to abandon the race after crashes. Dygert also went down in a crash but could continue the race.

As attacks started flying in the peloton just after the 50-kilometre mark, the breakaway was quickly reeled in. None of the new moves managed to stay ahead for long, though. Jessica Finney (AWOL O’Shea) timed her attack to win the third QOM sprint 30.9km from the finish, and the counterattacks after she was caught led to a front group of 14 riders.

Soraya Paladin (Canyon-SRAM), Copponi, Thalita de Jong, Katia Ragusa (both Liv Racing TeqFind), Georgi, Kool, Teuntje Beekhuis, Noemi Rüegg (both Team Jumbo-Visma), Deignan, Lauretta Hanson (Trek-Segafredo), Eleonora Gasparrini (UAE Team ADQ), Elinor Barker (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team), Cédrine Kerbaol (Ceratizit-WNT), and Monica Greenwood (DAS-Handsling) slowly increased their advantage on the narrow roads, helped by occasional crosswinds.

Dygert and Van der Duin bridged to the front inside 10km to go, the peloton was almost 40 seconds behind at that point. Paladin, Georgi, and Hanson did the lion’s share of the work in the front group to make sure it stayed away, and an attack by Rüegg with 5.5km to go was quickly brought back by them.

Georgi brought Kool to the front on the final kilometre, though Copponi was the first to launch her sprint. Kool jumped onto her wheel and came around in the last 100 metres to win.


Results powered by FirstCycling

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Lukas Knöfler started working in cycling communications in 2013 and has seen the inside of the scene from many angles. Having worked as press officer for teams and races and written for several online and print publications, he has been Cyclingnews’ Women’s WorldTour correspondent since 2018.

Latest on Cyclingnews