Britain's Geraint Thomas rued a missed opportunity to chalk up a pre-Olympic Games victory after his long-range solo bid for success in Sunday's RideLondon-Surrey Classic was thwarted.
Team Sky’s Thomas, who finished 15th at the Tour de France, made a bolt for glory with just over 50km remaining and opened up a lead of more than a minute over his closest challengers and three minutes over the peloton.
But the Welshman’s advantage evaporated and the 30-year-old was usurped with about 5km to go. Belgian sprint specialist Tom Boonen claimed victory, while Dimension Data’s Mark Renshaw finished second and Michael Matthews of Orica-BikeExchange third.
“We wanted to make it hard. On Box Hill I just wanted to test the group and maybe get rid of a few people who were just sitting on, and I ended up on my own. I thought, ‘I’ve bought my ticket now, I just have to go’,” said Thomas.
“Oh man, it was just super-hard. I was always going to be up against it with the sprinters’ team. For sure, it would have been better if I had just waited and gone with 20km to go rather than 50km to go on my own.
“It’s a long way, but I was hoping it was going to split behind and maybe two would come across to me. As it turned out, it was just me on my own all the way.”
Victory was Boonen’s second of the season and he now joins Manxman Mark Cavendish, Arnaud Demare, Adam Blythe and Jean-Pierre Drucker on the list of RideLondon-Surrey Classic winners.
“Everybody was really nervous today and trying to do well,” he said. “There was a mix of big teams coming out of the Tour and smaller teams wanting to prove themselves.”
Thomas’s team-mate Chris Froome, seven days after winning the Tour de France for a third time, finished in the peloton in 41st place. His next assignment is Saturday’s Olympic road race before the time trial on 10 August.