Stannard prepared for the Olympic challenge

Ian Stannard
Ian Stannard

Ian Stannard will go to the Rio Olympics having had the best preparation possible at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, according to his sporting director.

Belgium’s Tom Boonen won the race, a 200km run from Horseguard’s Parade, out into the Surrey countryside, and back into central London for a finish on The Mall, but it was Team Sky’s Stannard who attacked with teammate Geraint Thomas to peak the home crowd’s interest.

Having just come home from helping fellow Brit Chris Froome to a third Tour de France title in Paris, last weekend, Milton Keyne’s Stannard now heads to Rio for the Olympic road race.

And his sporting director, Gabriel Rasch, has backed Stannard and his Team GB colleagues to perform in Brazil, after his 36th-place finish in London.

“A one-day race like this was perfect for Ian and the guys, this is exactly what they needed and they’re going to go into the Olympics in good touch,” said the Norwegian.

“We mostly did everything right, but it didn’t quite pay off in the end. Sometimes that happens.

“It looked really good for a while, Geraint was there at the front with Yogi [Stannard] just behind him, but it wasn’t our day in the end.”

Thomas made a valiant solo effort for the win, bridging up to an initial breakaway, with Stannard, before launching an attack with around 50km to go.

The Welshman was caught in the final kilometres though and Boonen, of Etixx Quick-Step, won the bunch sprint ahead of Australians Mark Renshaw and Michael Matthews.

The race was the fourth edition of the Classic and sees riders go over Surrey’s infamous Leith Hill and Box Hill, in what is fast becoming a haunt of the best competitors world cycling has to offer.

And Rasch was taken aback by the race’s popularity, saying the race was an event Stanning - who was born in Chelmsford but began racing in Milton Keynes - and his teammates could not afford to miss.

“It was massive,” he added. “I don’t think I’ve been involved in a race where there were so many people watching, it was incredible.

“For Ian it was a really special race, for him to be able to ride through London is great.

“It’s the only race where you can compete in the middle of a big city, everything is closed off just for the racers which is something special.

“It looked really good for a while, Geraint was there at the front with Yogi and Stannard just behind him but it wasn’t our day in the end.”

Prudential RideLondon was developed by the Mayor of London and his agencies in 2013, and was designed to be a world class festival of cycling, as well as providing a tangible legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Prudential RideLondon is the world’s largest festival of cycling. Prudential is proud to support people’s ambitions. Visit www.pru.co.uk/ambitions