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RideLondon 2019 men's race to tackle Box Hill five times

RideLondon-Surrey men's race to ascend Box Hill five times this year, while the women's event remains a circuit race. Photo: George Marshall

The RideLondon-Surrey Classic, Britain's only men's WorldTour race, has had a route overhaul for 2019 which will see the start and finish of the course change, along with a total of five climbs of Box Hill rather than the previous single ascent. This is still fewer than the nine times the London 2010 Olympic Games road race went up the famous zig zags.

The men's race on Sunday 4th August is the culmination of a full weekend of events that starts on Friday 2nd and includes a women's professional race, a closed road sportive and plenty more besides. The highlight of the weekend is usually Saturday's FreeCycle, when Central London is reclaimed from motorists for people to enjoy on bike and foot.

As well as the five ascents of Box Hill, the other key changes laid out by the race's organiser include a new start location. This year, the peloton will set off from Bushy Park, close to Hampton Court Palace, in South West London, before heading out to Surrey.

As a direct result of the altered start and the loops of Box Hill, the overall race distance has been brought down from 183km to 169km, though it still packs in more than 1,700 metres of climbing. The organiser says this is 'in an effort to encourage more aggressive riding'.

While retaining the 'iconic' finish on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, the peloton will enter the road from the opposite direction. The Flamme Rouge will be on Birdcage Walk with the riders passing Buckingham Palace before sprinting up The Mall to the finish line.

The route change is likely to see fewer roads in Surrey closed for the event which should appease the motor vehicle users who regularly object to this once a year event, unsatified with having impunity on the roads for only the other 364.

Women's circuit race, still just a circuit race

The day before the men's road race, the event organiser is treating the women's peloton to 20 laps of a 3.4km circuit in Central London covering a total distance of 68km - around 92km less than the amateurs riding the sportive.

The Women's WorldTour event, despite not being a road race on the same route as the men's event as per the Tour de Yorkshire, is expected to attract '16 of the world’s top professional teams', according to the organiser.

Being a circuit race does have one key advantage, however, and that's a captive audience to watch the women's race, which is likely to be aggressive and fast-paced from the start.

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