Updated: Monday, 10th December 2018 @ 4:16pm

RideLondon: Wigan's Matthew Holmes rues hectic day of near misses

RideLondon: Wigan's Matthew Holmes rues hectic day of near misses

| By Ross Lawson

Wigan cycling star Matthew Holmes believes his successful Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic exploits were just another step on what has been a fantastic season of consistency on the bike.

The Madison Genesis rider was, for a while, heading up the 200km race as part of the lead breakaway group, but wasn’t able to hold on amidst a race boasting some of the best racers in the world.

Tour de France winner Chris Froome was amongst those vying for glory in the capital for Team Sky, but Belgium’s Tom Boonen took the honours after the run from Horseguard’s Parade, out into the Surrey countryside, and back into central London for a finish on The Mall.

And for Holmes, finishing within five seconds of Boonen ended what was a largely-successful run for the 22-year-old, although he admitted it was tough to be pegged back so close to the finish.

“I was in the breakaway all day, almost won the King of the Mountains competition (given to the best climber in the race) but I missed out on that and the group was just caught at the end,” he said.

“But I wasn’t able to come away with anything in the end which was a bit gutting, but this has been my best season ever and I’m glad that RideLondon was able to be a part of that.

“I’ve won some small races but I’ve been consistently good through the year. I’ve missed out a few times, but I had a lot of luck to get away in that breakaway group so I’ll have to keep improving to be able to come back strongly next year.”

While Holmes was part of one of many breakaways during the 125-mile epic, the group ultimately couldn’t hang on as 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 Holmes was taken aback by the race’s popularity, saying the race was an event he and his team could not miss given the line-up on the day.

“It’s a massive race, there were loads of good riders including Team Sky and Chris Froome, and RideLondon does a really good job of getting the big riders in, and it makes it the race to watch for people,” he added.

“It’s probably one of the best one-day races around, it’s a great race to watch and brings together the best professionals around in a fantastic city, so I’d recommend anyone to come and watch it.

“The chance to be able to see all the landmarks is fantastic, let alone to be able to ride past them – it was just a shame my eyes were locked on the wheels in front and I couldn’t enjoy what we were going past.”

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

Image courtesy of Larry Hickmott via YouTube, with thanks.