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Riders of St Michel - Mavis - Auber 93 team lead riders of Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team (GER) during Sprint 1 on Hill Street in Saffron Walden during Stage One of the Ford RideLondon Classique

Pre-race quotes

Pre-race quotes for Stage One of the 2023 Ford RideLondon Classique

Riders describe how they are feeling ahead of the 146.4km race from Saffron Walden to Colchester and their hopes for the day.

Britain’s Alice Towers, who is with team Canyon//SRAM Racing (GER) and the current National Road Race Champion, said: “I’m feeling good, I’m excited. I had a bit of a break after the spring period so I’m starting my second half of the season really. Good to be in the UK wearing the jersey in the sunshine. We are aiming for a win this weekend. I think we are all motivated for that. We’ve got a good chance and a really strong team here to be able to do that.”

Britain’s Elinor Barker, Uno-X Pro Cycling Team (NOR), said: “I’m really looking forward to today’s race. It’s quite a novelty to get to race in the UK. It will be lovely and it’s just nice to get to race in towns like this and the finish looks really nice. I think it’s going to be quite hard, especially with the uphill sprint finish but we are really looking forward to it as a team.”

On her preparations for today (26 May), she said: “I had a big block at the Classics and then a little bit of time off racing and then came back to it last week so had a few recovery days in between. Now, I’m just coming back to life again after four days of hard racing last week.”

Fellow Briton Connie Hayes, AWOL O’Shea (GBR), said: “Really excited, it’s on my home roads because I’m from East London and train in Essex, it’s great, it’s brilliant. The team just really want to try and get a result at the end, it’s WorldTour level, we’re a small team so obviously we are racing the top guys. We’ll just go out there, do our best and try and put on a show.”

Elisa Balsamo, Trek-Segafredo (USA), former World Champion and second-place finisher at RideLondon 2022, said: “Yes, I’m very happy to be there. The weather is also good and we are a strong team. We are always racing for a win so we will try out best.”

Charlotte Kool, Team DSM (NED), said: “I’m really excited. I think it’s one of the most beautiful races so I’m looking forward to it. Every stage is a nice opportunity.”

Caroline Baur, Israel Premier Tech Roland (SUI), said: “I’m super excited to be here in England. For me it was difficult, I had a lot of sickness before but I’m now feeling great and we have a strong team here so let’s see what we can do. With the team we have two strong sprinters so our hope is to have a top five for sure but let’s see, may be there’s more possible today.”