Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) escaped being caught up in a large crash in the closing stages to win the sprint in London, edging out Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), who lost teammates in the pileup. Having led out his teammate, Michael Morkov (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) held on for third.
After a large crash impacted the women’s race on Saturday, a crash brought down a number of the peloton in the last two kilometers, reducing the field to around 30 riders. Despite being in the middle of the pack throughout the final 10km of the race, Viviani and his teammates were able to navigate through the melee to contest the sprint.
“This was one of five classics I really wanted to win in my career,” said Viviani after the race. “It was really amazing teamwork, with Michael [Morkov] able to finish third. I’m really grateful to them.”
The 169km race headed out of London then featured five circuits of the 2.5km dragging climb of Box Hill before a flat 50km run into the finish line on central London.
Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin), Pascal Eenkhorn (Jumbo Visma) and Stan Dewulf (Lotto-Soudal) clipped off the front early on, and held a three to four minute gap for the first 100km. Sunweb and Lotto-Soudal massed at the front of the peloton to control the pace for their sprinters, Michael Matthews and Caleb Ewan respectively.
Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) and Casper Perersen (Sunweb) attacked from the peloton on the fourth ascent of Box Hill, looking to bridge to the lead trio, who were now just two minutes ahead. The chase pair failed to make any real headway, and with 40km to go, as the race headed back toward central London, only Eenkhorn and Dewulf were left out front.
Dewulf was the last man standing from the break and eventually succumbed to the catch with 14km to go, and a number of teams spread across the road for the sprinters, with Lotto-Soudal, Bora-Hansgrohe, EF Education First, and UAE-Team Emirates all crowing to the front.
As the race came into the final 3km, Groupama-FDJ, Israel Cycling Academy and Mitchelton-Scott also started swamping the road, though Viviani’s Deceuninck-Quick-Step team sat a long way back.
On 2km, a Bora-Hansgrohe rider crashed in the middle of the peloton, bringing down one of his teammates and around 10 others. Matthews was caught on the wrong side of the crash and left out of contention as only 30 riders came through without hold up.
UAE-Team Emirates led the race into the final straight for their sprinter, Kristoff but soon faded. On the right, Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) launched a long sprint, with Morkov on his wheel. Viviani had made his way through the pack and was locked on his teammates’ wheel. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) sat behind Viviani, but as the Italian launched off a perfect leadout from his teammate, the Irishman was unable to match his sprint.
Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) sprinted from around six riders back but left his effort too late. He missed out on the podium to finish fourth, as Morkov held on for third after working so hard to set up Viviani.