ProCyclingUK 2024 Logo Alternate

‘I had tears in my eyes’ – What the Ford RideLondon Classique brings to British cycling teams


Britain’s only remaining UCI World-ranked event, the Ford RideLondon Classique, is set to commence on Friday 24 May, attracting top teams and riders from the world of female cycling for its third year as a three-day stage race. As the premier cycling race in the UK, the Classique stands alone following uncertainties surrounding other major events.

Reflecting on the significance of the Classique, Commonwealth and European Games medallist Hayley Simmonds emphasised the importance of having a UCI WorldTour race for women’s cycling in the UK. She highlighted how televised events like the Classique inspire young females to explore cycling as a sport and join local clubs, offering them a tangible goal to aspire to.

Connie Hayes, a local rider with a personal connection to the event, echoed Simmonds’ sentiments, expressing how watching riders like Alex Peters and Tao Geoghegan Hart progress through the ranks inspired her own cycling journey. Despite acknowledging challenges within the sport, Hayes stressed the need to safeguard and support existing races to ensure their growth.

Simon Howes, Team Principal at DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK, underscored the Classique’s role as an important platform for amateur and aspirational teams. He highlighted the race’s significance in showcasing talent, engaging sponsors, and energising British racers with enthusiastic roadside support, particularly in Essex, where the team has strong connections.

Reflecting on personal experiences, Hayley Simmonds recounted her emotional reaction to witnessing the Classique’s impact on young riders during Stage Two in 2022, underscoring the race’s potential to inspire and nurture talent. Despite it not being her preferred race type, she described it as her favourite event on the calendar.

Similarly, Simon Howes and Connie Hayes shared their positive experiences with the Classique, emphasising its growth and importance within the cycling community. They expressed anticipation for the upcoming event in 2024 and its potential to motivate the next generation of cyclists.

Hayley Simmonds also highlighted the significance of events like RideLondon in attracting new participants to cycling, noting the diverse range of people enjoying the FreeCycle rides and sportives. She praised RideLondon’s commitment to maintaining an elite women’s race, providing consistency and assurance for smaller teams.