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Drucker won the sprint from a group of four, who extracted themselves from an eight man attack which went clear from the bunch 38km from home.

Photo: ©Tim De Waele/TDW Sport

JEAN PIERRE DRUCKER

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RIDE LONDON CLASSIC

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02.08.2015 @ 21:40 Posted by Joseph Doherty

The RideLondon Classic has changed from being a bunch sprint to an event that really suits attacking and this year it was like last season, with an eight man group escaping the peloton before they attacked each other to win the race. Jempy Drucker (BMC) came out on top to take his first pro win in a three mans print against Mike Teunissen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Ben Swift (Sky).

 

Drucker has been a nearly man for so long, with great riders over the last three years and he has stepped up since signing for BMC this year. But there has always been someone faster in the race and he hasn’t been able to win. Swift once again top tenned the race without winning but it was a good comeback after not racing since the Tour de Yorkshire.

 

There were plenty of attacks from the start, with the local teams wanting to show off their jerseys. Mark Cavendish (Etixx) surprised everyone by attacking and he got away in a group of four but they were hauled back soon after. Then a five man counterattack went containing Lander Seynaeve (Wanty), Riccardo Stacchioti (Nippo), Peter Williams (ONE Pro), Erick Rowsell (Madison Gensesi) and Sander Helven of Topsport. 

 

Despite them being heavily chased, the bunch, led by Etixx and Sky eventually eased up and gave the break a two minute advantage. 115km from the line, Stacchioti punctured out of the break but he managed to get back on. On a climb, Williams dropped his chain and had to fight hard to get back with just over 100km to go. However, the gap was now just a minute as Sky were chasing hard.

 

90km from the line, Floris Gerts, the BMC stagiare attacked the peloton. Up front, Pete Williams realised how unlucky he was: he had three punctures and a mechanical in total with 85km to go. Heading onto Ranmore Hill, the break had 1:53 but back in the bunch, attacks were beginning to fly, with Swift, Teunissen and Sep Vanmarcke all looking to get involved but it quietened down at the summit.

 

At 68km to go, Gerts joined the break, replacing Williams who had no energy left after having to constantly make it back after his bad luck. In the bunch, LottoNL-Jumbo had done some work but sent Timo Roosen up the road and he was joined by Roompot’s Huub Duyn and Raleigh’s Karol Domagalski. They were just 15 seconds behind the break with 63km to go and the bunch were 50 seconds behind the original break.

 

Gerts attacked the break but was pulled back eventually by his breakmates, helped by the three chasers who had joined up with them just as they made it onto Box Hill. 

 

And it was on the famous climb that things started to kick off. Gilbert put the hammer down on the climb and he got free with riders like Swift, Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal), Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Cavendish. Dennis dragged Gilbert, Swift, Debusschere across the climb at 50km to go. The break was caught just after the summit and despite being dropped, Gilbert encouraged Gerts to make it back on, which he did.

 

The group began to work well together and there was around 15 riders doing turns, as they were 15 seconds clear of Etixx and the rest of the bunch. 43km from the line, Etixx-QuickStep hailed it back together and Cavendish attacked straight away with Dennis but they never got much of a gap and it was all back together once more at 40km from home.

 

38km from home, an eight man move got clear with Swift, Teunissen, Drucker, Vanmarcke, Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka), Leigh Howard (Orica), Fernando Gaviria (Etixx) and Kenneth Van Rooy (Lotto-Soudal). They built up an advantage of 30 seconds with 35km to go. They kept working well and at 20km to go, they had 1:30 on a reduced bunch.

 

14km from home, Ben Swift attacked and he dragged Teunissen and Drucker clear but they were taken back at 13km to go. In the bunch, riders like Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Gilbert and a few others tried to attack but the moves never got clear and this staccato style allowed the break to get a gap of 1:41.

 

Vanmarcke attacked a few kilometres later and he had 20 seconds with 6km to go. In the chase behind, all but Teunissen were working and Swift dragged Drucker and Teunissen clear with 3.8km to go.

 

With 2km to go, they caught Vanmarcke. Then, teunissen began rolling through and they tried to extend their gap. Inside the flamme rouge, Teunissen attacked but Swift reacted and shut it down. Teunissen tried once more onto the Mall.

 

Howard and Sbaragli were just meters behind but Vanmarcke launched the sprint but he was passed by Drucker who kept the pace up all the way to the line to take a memorable first pro win. Teunissen had his wheel and came second with Swift in third. Vanmarcke was two seconds back with Sbaragli at 3, Howard at 4. Van Rooy was seventh at 28 seconds and Gaviria eighth at 49 seconds. Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the bunch sprint for ninth, gapping Yves Lampaert (Etixx) who was tenth.

 

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