World champion Lotte Kopecky, British favourite Lizzie Deignan, and previous winners Charlotte Kool and Lorena Wiebes gathered in Essex today, preparing for the UCI Women’s WorldTour Ford RideLondon Classique. The three-day race kicks off tomorrow in Saffron Walden and concludes on Sunday in central London.

The reigning champion Charlotte Kool, who rides for Team DSM Firmenich-Postal, expressed her excitement, saying, “I’m feeling really good, and I’m really excited for tomorrow. This is definitely one of my favourite races which fits me really well. So, after the Classics season and the Vuelta, I’m really looking forward to this race and I can’t wait to just sprint – I haven’t done many this year, so I hope we can finally sprint!”

Charlotte Kool
Photo: Chloe Knott for London Marathon Events

Former champion Lorena Wiebes of Team SD Worx – Protime reminisced about her past success, noting, “I’m really looking forward to this race. I have good memories from winning here in 2022 [and winning all three stages]. I’m looking forward to racing in the city centre of London for Stage Three and finishing on The Mall as we didn’t get the chance to do that in 2022. I won on The Mall in 2019 but that was through a disqualification of another rider (Kirsten Wild) so it’s nice to be back. The race normally ends up with a sprint on the three stages and I like that.”

World champion Lotte Kopecky shared her enthusiasm, saying, “I have had a break after the Spring Classics and I’ve had a good training camp so I’m excited to be racing again. The first two stages have challenging courses that are uphill so I am looking forward to them.”

Lorena Wiebes (NED) of Team SD Worx Protime (NED) assists with the preparation of the team bikes ahead of the Ford RideLondon Classique on Friday 24th May. 2024 Ford RideLondon, Thursday 23rd May 2024.

Photo: Chloe Knott for London Marathon Events

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British star Lizzie Deignan, riding for Lidl-Trek, discussed her recovery and prospects, stating, “I went to the Vuelta Femenina hoping to pick up some form again having broken my arm at Flanders, and we’re six weeks out from that now, so I know that I’m still on a bit of a trajectory and I just hope that each day I feel a little bit stronger and I’m as ready as I can be. I’m able to sprint out of the saddle again now, which is something I was nervous about being able to do, so my arm’s fully functioning.”

Deignan also reflected on the race’s special significance, “Riding last year’s Ford RideLondon Classique was really special for me because I finished on the podium and it was completely unexpected having just come back from seven months out after having my son. I’d gone to the race hoping to improve form – and I came away with a podium, so I was really proud of that performance.”

The 2024 Ford RideLondon Classique features three stages: a 152km route from Saffron Walden to Colchester, a 143km circuit starting and ending in Maldon, and a final 91km lap in central London, beginning and finishing on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. This year’s competition promises to be a thrilling showdown between some of the world’s top cyclists.

Main photo credit: Chloe Knott for London Marathon Events