Lorena Wiebes of Team SD Worx-Protime clinched victory in the first stage of the 2024 RideLondon Classique, finishing the 159.2km route from Saffron Walden to Colchester in 4 hours, 6 minutes, and 16 seconds. Wiebes, who dominated the final sprint, crossed the line five seconds ahead of Italy’s Letizia Paternoster, with Clara Copponi taking third, a further two seconds behind.

Stage summary

The race began with an early breakaway from Lea Lin Teutenberg and Danish champion Rebecca Koerner. They worked together to stay ahead of the peloton. Teutenberg won the intermediate sprints, while Koerner took the Queen of the Mountains (QoM) points, earning the polka dot jersey with nine points.

“On the climbs, she was definitely stronger than me,” said Teutenberg about Koerner. Reflecting on their teamwork, she added, “We worked really well together, and I was surprised we stayed out for so long.”

Lea Lin Teutenberg leads Rebecca Koerner

Koerner was also pleased with her performance in the QoM competition. “I got the QoM points, so I’m really happy about that,” she said. Looking ahead, she added, “For someone to beat my points, they would have to win all the QoM points tomorrow, so I think my chances are good.” Their breakaway was finally caught 15km from the finish.

With 15 kilometres to go, Alice Towers attacked, and Lauretta Hanson quickly closed the 30-metre gap to her with 12.3 kilometres left. At the 10-kilometre mark, Towers and Hanson had a 15-second lead, but the chasing teams caught them at the 6.9-kilometre mark.

As the race neared Colchester, several teams fought for position at the front of the peloton. Initially, some teams held back, but Lidl-Trek moved to the front with 2.7 kilometres to go. DSM-Firmenich PostNL then regained the lead position.

In the final kilometre, Amalie Dideriksen led through the two roundabouts, with Maria Giulia Confalonieri close behind. After the flamme rouge, another team surged forward on the right, and Confalonieri joined their train as Dideriksen dropped back.

Pfeiffer Georgi led out Charlotte Kool, who had to start her sprint with over 300 metres remaining to follow Lotte Kopecky’s acceleration. In the last few metres, Letizia Paternoster and Clara Copponi, drafting behind Wiebes and Kool, passed Kool to take second and third places respectively. Confalonieri also passed Kool, finishing in fourth place.

Rider Thoughts

Wiebes’ team played a key role throughout the day. “The girls worked really hard today, so we had to finish it off,” Wiebes said after the race. She praised her teammates Femke Markus and Christine Majerus for controlling the breakaway. “It is really important to time your sprint well on this type of finish,” she added, noting the perfect lead-out by Barbara Guarischi and Lotte Kopecky.

Clara Copponi, who finished third, was pleased with her performance and thanked her teammates: “I really trusted the girls at the end. They put me in the first position in the last corner, and I did my best in the sprint. I’m really happy and thanks to the girls.”

Teutenberg, tired but happy after her day in the breakaway, summed up her experience: “It was nice to enjoy the day, with lots of fans cheering. Every time I race in Great Britain, the fans are really excited. It’s super nice to race here.”

As the riders prepare for the second stage, a 143km route from Maldon, they are aware of the challenges ahead. Eleonora Gasparrini, wearing the Best Young Rider jersey, said, “Tomorrow will be an interesting day. There will be more movement, so let’s see. We are ready! Let’s fight.”

Lorena Wiebes

2024 RideLondon Classique Stage 1

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All photo credits: Ford RideLondon