RideLondon Classique 2023 Race Preview

RideLondon Classique 2022 Jumbo Visma

RideLondon Classique History

After a tumultuous off-season, RideLondon Classique returns in 2023 still just about as a Women’s WorldTour level race. Last year, only the final day’s stage was given live coverage, a decision that breached the rule about providing a minimum of an hour’s coverage per stage. The race effectively had its WWT status suspended until it could prove its intent to show all 3 stages in 2023. Once that was complete, the race was reinstated in the 2023 Women’s WorldTour calendar.

2022 had marked a departure from the previous history of the RideLondon Classique in itself anyway. Previously a one-day race that headed out to Surrey before having a sprint on the Mall in London, it was revamped this side of the enforced Covid cancellation editions. With the agreement with Surrey reaching its end 10 years after the Olympics, the race found a new agreement with Essex and hosted a pair of stages finishing out to the East of London before heading into the centre of the city for a crit style final stage. Lorena Wiebes dominated the race, taking all 3 stages and the GC.

The RideLondon Classique has always been a sprinter’s classic – so far no break has been successful and big names like Kristen Wild (2016 & 2018), Coryn Labecki (2017), Barbara Guarischi (2015), Giorgia Bronzini (2014) and Laura Kenny (2013) have all tasted success.

Previous Winners

2022
Lorena Wiebes
2021
Not held
2020
Not held

RideLondon Classique 2023 Profiles

Stage 1 Profile

Stage 2 Profile

Stage 3 Profile

TV Coverage

Friday 26th May 2023 to Sunday 28th May 2023

Live on BBC iPlayer & Red Button (Stages 1 & 2), BBC Two & iPlayer (Stage 3)

Stage 1: 13:15-15:15
Stage 2: 13:00-15:00
Stage 3: 15:00-18:00

All times in BST

Twitter: #RideLondon

Startlist: FirstCycling

RideLondon Classique 2023 Contenders

Charlotte Kool has made a solid go of becoming the #1 sprinter in the peloton, although it will take more wins to knock Lorena Wiebes off her perch though. The head-to-head sprints have been encouraging though and the Dutch rider hasn’t lost one to Consonni this season. What remains to truly be known is how she stacks up against Elisa Balsamo. The pair has pretty much avoided each other, only contesting the same races that by and large don’t come down to a big sprint. If Kool can have the beating of Balsamo here, that will be another rival ticked off. Teammate Pfeiffer Georgi will probably support the sprint chances here but if the hills in Essex prove too much, she can step in and deliver a sprint or attack that might recreate her Brugge-De Panne victory this year.

Elisa Balsamo will be hoping to break her spell of 3 months without a win here at RideLondon Classique. She’s always come super close here but has been up against Lorena Wiebes, so has 4 podium results but no victories in the UK. It was a similar tale at Vuelta a Burgos where the Italian looked strong but not quite Wiebes strong. She will want to get one over the young pretender Charlotte Kool too. Teammates Lucinda Brand and Lizzie Deignan also bring powerful wildcard energy, with both more than capable of disappearing off the front on lumpy terrain. I assume they’ll be working for Balsamo in the large part but they’re strong cards to play.

Hopefully, Chiara Consonni is actually racing RideLondon Classique this year. The Italian suffered a crash in a normally quiet bit of racing that saw her run over by another team’s car and had to have reconstructive dental work on 4 teeth. At her best, she’s in the top tier of the current sprinters in the peloton and this race offered a chance to add to the win she took this year at Trofee Marten Wynants.

Uno-X certainly has plenty of options for the sprints here. The most in-form of which is probably Amalie Dideriksen. The Dane won at GP Eco-Struct, her first individual win since the Danish champs in 2021. Next best recently is Susanne Andersen, who was also 9th on a Vuelta Femenina stage. Normally I’d pick Maria Giulia Confalonieri but she hasn’t finished in the top 25 of a race since Gent Wevelgem 2 months ago despite opportunities. The other option is Elinor Barker, who I think we might see more in a break but she has been shown to be strong on hills this season and will be more used to the British roads than many.

After a solid Spring campaign that included top-10s at the Tour of Flanders, Gent Wevelgem, Nokere Koerse and Ronde van Drenthe, Anna Henderson went one better and took the opening leader’s jersey at the Vuelta Femenina. That was a few weeks ago and whilst she eventually lost it, her all-around ability still saw a GC finish of 27th. She won the QoM jersey here last year and almost took a stage win with a break on Stage 1. She’ll be outgunned in the sprints but will be prepared to roll the dice to win another way. Similarly, so will Karlijn Swinkels. Never afraid to get in a break, we saw her there at Navarra Elite Classics recently on her way to 5th place. Another rider like Henderson that is not afraid to attack and can finish quickly too.

BePink pulled out of Thüringen Ladies Tour citing injuries and illnesses. It might just be down to having a clash with RideLondon Classique or it might be that reason nonetheless. So it’s possible we see Silvia Zanardi who took a pair of top-10s last week at the Vuelta a Burgos or maybe even Valentina Basilico who is an Italian sprinter to keep an eye on.

Shari Bossuyt
Shari Bossuyt

Fresh from another solid showing at the Vuelta a Burgos is Chloe Dygert. The American is showing that she has a very useful sprint where she finished 2nd and 3rd before securing 4th overall. With names like Shari Bossuyt and Maike van der Duin also on the start list though, it feels like Canyon SRAM will go with others in sprints though. We’ve not seen Bossuyt since Paris Roubaix Femmes, so the Belgian will be well-rested and looking to repeat her win on the last day of the Tour de Normandie. Maike van der Duin took a pair of top-10s this weekend and will be looking to recreate the form that saw her on the podium of both Gent Wevelgem and Ronde van Drenthe.

The Fidanza sisters both came off this weekend but Arianna Fidanza was able to ride again the next day to 39th at Antwerp Port Epic, a tough gravel race. Martina Fidanza came off badly in that race, hitting her head hard enough to break her helmet. Arianna took a pair of 2nd places at Bretagne Ladies Tour recently and Martina was 2nd at Veenendaal Veenendaal on Friday and won at Ronde de Mouscron. Both riders are more than useful in a sprint finish but probably fighting for non-podium finishes with the calibre of top sprinter here.

Martina Alzini is in a good vein of form at the moment with a trio of 3rd places at the Bretagne Ladies Tour, which followed on from, you guessed it, 3rd in GC at the Tour de Normandie. The Cofidis rider can get some strong top-10 results in her first time back at RideLondon Classique since 2017. 

There have been flashes recently from Clara Copponi, where she finished 4th on Stage 3 of the Vuelta Femenina. The last time she raced on these shores was the 2nd place in Oxford in the Women’s Tour which also saw the team lose out on the GC win, muting the celebrations. She can contest again the big 3 here in the sprints! 

Rachele Barbieri looks to be back to the strong form she has last year, with a pair of 4th places this weekend at Omloop der Kempen and Veenendaal Veenendaal. That goes with her 5th on the 2nd stage of the Vuelta Femenina as well. The Italian was 5th in last year’s RIdeLondon Classique final stage and that is on the cards again this year.

Roxane Fournier is probably the St Michel-Mavic-Auber93 rider with the best shout of a result here. She took top-10s at the Bretagne Ladies Tour, Tour de Normandie, Le Samyn and Omloop van het Hageland. She’s got a shout of a WWT top-10 again here. Teammates Coralie Demay and Simone Boilard are also useful wildcards and hopefully, we’ll see them on the attack as well. Both have some good recent results to fall back on too.

RideLondon Classique 2023 Outsiders

Josie Nelson
Josie Nelson

There are some long-shot options for Team Coop-Hitec Products here. Lucie Jounier was 8th on the stage of the Bretagne Ladies Tour won by Daria Pikulik and still working her way back to peak form after her Zaaf experience. Teammates Josie Nelson and Sylvie Swinkels are also riders who may squeeze into the top-10 or go into breaks for jerseys. 

DAS-Handsling has a few options that could do well in the finishes or breakaways. Monica Greenwood took strong results in Belgium recently, finishing 4th at Leiedal Koerse and 5th at GP Eco-Struct. That bodes well against this strong field. Teammate Emma Jeffers is on the cusp of breaking out with a best UCI result of 14th at GP Eco-Struct. Still only 18 years old, she broke out last year at the Tour Series, winning against Elite riders. If anyone on the team is going to get into a break, it’s Sammie Stuart. 3rd at the Lincoln GP, she’s going to relish a chance to get off the front.

It’s been a quieter sort of season so far for Sofie van Rooijen but 12th at Antwerp Port Epic and 18th at Trofee Marten Wynants is an encouraging trend. The Parkhotel Valkenburg rider will look to recreate the trio of 2nd places she secured in races last season.

Top 3 Prediction

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