Tour de France champion Chris Froome is to make his Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic debut and race for Team Sky on the roads of London and Surrey on Sunday (31 July).
The 31-year-old took his third Tour de France title with a triumphal ride down the Champs Elysees yesterday (Sunday) after a thrilling three weeks of racing.
Now his focus turns to the the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, the world’s richest one-day race, for his final preparations for the Rio Olympic Games where he is going for gold in both the road race and the time trial.
British cycling fans now have a rare chance to cheer on Britain’s greatest ever Grand Tour rider. Froome has not competed in the UK since the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France, when the first three stages were held in England.
Froome headlines a formidable Team Sky squad that includes Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Christian Knees and Dutch sprinter Danny van Poppel.
Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic Race Director Mick Bennett said: “We are thrilled to have Tour de France champion Chris Froome riding for Team Sky at this year’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
“His performance over the last three weeks has enthralled the country and we are proud Chris has chosen the Classic as his last race before Rio. Now British fans have the chance to watch him in action and cheer on the man who has achieved the incredible feat of three Tour de France wins. We expect thousands to come out and line the streets of London and Surrey.
“It confirms the important place the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic now holds in the international calendar. The fact that the three-time winner of the Tour de France views this race as the perfect preparation for his bid for Olympic gold shows the calibre of the race we have developed in just three years.
“In addition to Chris, Team Sky is also bringing Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard, proven winners in their own right, and with Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) also in the field, it means that four of Team GB’s five road racers for Rio are racing on Sunday.
“We have an incredible field and are set for a truly Classic race. I can’t wait for Sunday.”
As well as three Tour de France wins, Froome has finished runner-up at the Vuelta a Espana on two occasions and has a total of 34 professional wins to his name.
He has not taken part in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic before but did ride the 2012 Olympic Games road race on similar roads.
Geraint Thomas is one of the most talented all-rounders in the peloton. The Welshman won two gold medals on the track in the team pursuit in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games before concentrating on the road.
After initially proving himself to be one of the best one-day racers in the world, Thomas’s performance at the 2015 Tour de France - where he was fourth going into the final weekend before falling away to finish 15th overall - convinced him to focus on stage racing.
This year he has won the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice where he got the better of Alberto Contador. He finished 15th again in this year's Tour de France.
Ian Stannard has also proved himself to be one of Froome’s loyal lieutenants at the Tour de France. But the 29-year-old is also one of the best one-day racers in the world and finished in a superb third place at this year’s Paris-Roubaix.
The Team Sky line-up also includes Ben Swift who will be hoping to climb to the top step of the podium at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic. The Yorkshireman was second in 2014 and third last year.
Christian Knees and Dutch sprinter Danny van Poppel – who could be one to watch if the race came down to a sprint finish – complete the Team Sky squad.
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, ranked 1.HC by the UCI, will be shown live on BBC TV for the fourth successive year.
This year's line-up includes seven UCI WorldTour teams and a selection of the best riders in the world including German sprinter Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) who yesterday won the iconic final stage of the 2016 Tour de France on the Champs Elysees.
Another stage winner from this year's Tour de France, Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange) will also race, as will former world champion Tom Boonen (Etixx - Quick-Step).