Relive the excitement of the 2023 race
The 2023 Ford RideLondon Classique, part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, featured three unmissable stages on three unique courses across London and Essex from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 May 2023.
The courses produced three thrilling days of racing for some of the world’s best riders, with sprint finishes deciding each stage – not to mention a fast-paced spectacle for fans to watch on both the roadside and TV.
The first day saw the 19 teams set out from Saffron Walden for a 149.7km ride to Colchester. Crowds packed the medieval market town in northwest Essex to welcome the riders, with British teams and athletes among those animating the early stages.
Jessica Finney, Francesca Morgans-Slader (both AWOL O’Shea) and Danni Shrosbree (DAS-Handsling) were aggressors at the top end of the race along with Hanna Johansson (Torelli), staying clear of the drama of the peloton. Several crashes caused small splits, with former World Champion Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) unable to resume after two falls in quick succession.
The leading group kept a gap until the final approach in Colchester, but a sprint finish saw Charlotte Kool (Team DSM) outsprint Clara Copponi and British cycling legend Lizzie Deignan, who had returned to UK roads following the birth of her second child. Pfeiffer Georgi finished 10th after leading out her team-mate Kool to sit second in the Best British Rider competition.
Maldon was again both the start and finish venue for the Ford RideLondon Classique, having hosted Stage One of the 2022 race.
Crowds gathered in Promenade Park to see the teams sign-on ahead of their second day excursion, which lasted 133.1km. The exposed section of the course meant that one-day specialists and climbers were among those interested in breaking away for victory, although the sprint teams had their eyes on another bunch sprint come the final three circuits of Maldon.
The 98 riders who set off had to wait only 7.8km for their first sprint opportunity in Tolleshunt D’Arcy, with the fast pace dictated by Team DSM and Kool once again sweeping up maximum points.
There was more British interest at the front of the race through April Tacey (Lifeplus-Wahoo), who built up an advantage of almost three minutes, before she was caught after the first Queen of the Mountains (QoM) sprint.
The race came back together ahead of North Hill, where the crowds were out in full force with Johansson able to keep her opponents at bay to secure the QoM jersey. A bid for freedom by Maike van der Duin (Canyon//SRAM Racing) looked as though it had the legs to stay away from the field, but it was her teammates Chloé Dygert who crossed the line, ahead of Deignan, to win the first European race of her career
The Classique wrapped up once again on the streets of the capital, with riders starting and finishing on The Mall.
One of the most iconic finishes on the UCI Women’s WorldTour, the stage was set up for the sprinters, with the Sprints competition and overall classification still up for grabs.
Kool held a five-second advantage over Deignan and Dygert before the 91.2km stage, which featured eight laps of central London and passed sights including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and St Paul's Cathedral.
The peloton was reluctant to let breakaways go with so much to fight for, although Frankie Morgans-Slader was again among those to try her luck on home roads. The AWOL O’Shea rider was roped in before the first intermediate sprint, where Dygert narrowed Kool’s lead by claiming maximum points. Leader of the Best Young Rider jersey Eleanora Camilla Gasparrini (UAE Team ADQ) and Pfeiffer Georgi followed Dygert through the line before the day’s main breakaway.
Victoire Berteau (Cofidis), Grace Lister (DAS-Handsling Bikes) and Sofie van Rooijen (Parkhotel Valkenburg) built up a lead of more than a minute before the race came back together for the final lap. The closest sprint of the day saw Kool edge out Dygert and Maike van der Duin to take the victory and the overall title.
- General Classification: Charlotte Kool (Team DSM)
- Sprints Classification: Charlotte Kool (Team DSM)
- Queen of the Mountains: Hanna Johansson (Torelli)
- Best Young Rider: Eleanor Camilla Gasparrini (AUE Team ADQ)
- Best British Rider: Elizabeth Deignan (Trek-Segafredo)
- Best Team: Team Jumbo-Visma