Great Britain’s under 23 riders will face the biggest challenge of their careers so far at the inaugural Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, according to team manager Keith Lambert.
Twenty-two teams were confirmed on Thursday for the 140 mile race, taking place on 4 August, with three more yet to be named.
Eight UCI ProTeams from this year’s Tour de France including Sky, Garmin Sharp, Cannondale Pro Cycling and Orica GreenEDGE will compete as will six British UCI Continental teams.
“It’s a big opportunity for them to show at that level,” under 23 manager Lambert said. “There are some big teams there with some big names in them just coming out of the Tour, it’s a big incentive for them.”
“Without a doubt (it’s their toughest test).
“You don’t get that kind of opportunity everyday of the week. You just don’t get that chance very often, in front of your home crowds which will be huge crowds I think on the back of the Olympics and the Tour.”
The parcours, ending as the London Olympic races did at The Mall, is longer than any of the UCI under 23 Nations’ Cup events Great Britain has raced in 2013.
“It’s going to be very difficult but at the same time they have got that buzz, that incentive to do well particularly those who have desires to move up and on. They’ll get a first hand sight of what it’s like.”
Competing in a field of world class riders will be an added unknown to the British Cycling Olympic Programme athletes who are selected, but in spite of the difficulties Lambert insists it a chance for riders to showcase their talents.
He cites Josh Edmondson, who shone at last year’s Tour of Britain in the colours of Great Britain before signing for Team Sky as a neo-pro, as a case in point.
“It is 225-kilometres, it is 50-kilometres longer than they are used to doing which is a long way,” Lambert explained. “It’s another hour at least on top of what they normally do and at a greater speed as well.
“It’s going to be very difficult but at the same time they have got that buzz, that incentive to do well particularly those who have desires to move up and on. They’ll get a first hand sight of what it’s like.
“It can be done, you only look last year at the Tour of Britain. Josh Edmondson came in there and popped up, performed like he did and now he’s at Sky Procycling. It just shows you what can happen given that sort of platform.”
A fourth place for Owain Doull at the ZLM Tour and third for Simon Yates at La Côte Picarde have been among the highlights in a strong 2013 Nations’ Cup campaign.
Doull also took the points jersey and Yates the under 23 title in May’s An Post Rás as Great Britain won the team classification which Lambert believes can be drawn on for encouragement.
“This is a very different level of course but they have performed very well so far this year and it’s a great incentive now to step up to the mark and do what they can,” Lambert said.
Madison Genesis, Node4 Giordana Racing, Rapha Condor-JLT, Team Raleigh and Team UK Youth make up the British domestic representation for the race.
“There has been huge interest in the event from the top teams,” said Mick Bennett, race director for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
“The route, which is a variation of that used for the Olympic Road Cycling event plus three circuits of Leith Hill, together with extensive coverage on BBC and international TV, has been a big draw.”
The current list of confirmed teams is as follows (long list of riders for each team will be announced later in July):
Belkin Pro Cycling Team (Ned)
Cannondale Pro Cycling (Ita)
Garmin Sharp (USA)
Orica GreenEDGE (Aus)
Sky Procycling (GBr)
Vacansoleil DCM (Ned)
UCI Pro Continental
Champion System Pro Cycling Team (Chn)
MTN Qhubeka Cycling Team (RSA)
Team NetApp Endura (Ger)
Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise (Bel)
AN Post Chain Reaction (Irl)
Joker Merida (Nor)
Madison Genesis (GBr)
Node4 Giordana Racing (GBr)
Rapha Condor-JLT (GBr)
Synergy Baku Cycling Project (Aze)
Team IG Sigma Sport (GBr)
Team Raleigh (GBr)
Team UK Youth (GBr)