As the biggest one-day race on British soil in years, the London-Surrey Cycle Classic represents a huge opportunity for the domestic teams.
Here’s how some of them are preparing for Sunday’s event:
Ed Clancy is unsurprisingly relishing the chance to test himself against some of the world’s best sprinters on Sunday, but is downplaying his chances of success on The Mall.
Clancy has used his impressive kick to good effect on several occasions this season, most notably in his wins in the Aberystwyth Tour Series round and the Elite Circuit Series race in Colne.
Nonetheless, he told Cycling Weekly that he realises it will be tough to triumph against the likes of Mark Cavendish, Matt Goss and Tom Boonen.
“A few people have been saying to me that I’ve got a good chance on Sunday but I think the gap in quality is likely to show. If I’m still there at the finish of course I’ll give it my best shot.
“It’s a good opportunity to race people we don’t usually come up against, and there will be a few old faces out so it should be fun.”
Unsurprisingly, he predicts that the domestic teams will try and take the race to the national squads from the gun.
“I’d imagine that all the domestic teams will want to put someone in an early break, but no-one expects us to get a result, let alone win, on Sunday.
“From Rapha’s point of view, it’s a good test for us before the Tour of Britain, which now the crit season is out the way is a big objective for everyone.”
Whereas Box Hill is well known to cyclists in the south east, it will be completely new to Clancy.
“I’ve not been up it before, but I suspect that’s going to be the case for most of those riding so it could well shell a lot of people out.”
We suggested that, regardless of the result on Sunday, Clancy has something that Mark Cavendish does not: an Olympic gold medal.
Clancy laughed, saying: “I’m pretty sure that it won’t be long before he adds that to his CV. He’s a man on a mission.”
Clancy corners at a round of this year’s Tour Series
This race has a special significance for the squad, as the route virtually passes right by the Sigma Sport flagship store in Kingston.
“It’s got a Premier Calendar-meets-Classics feel to it, it’s an interesting field,” team manager Matt Stephens said.
“I want our riders to shine and not be afraid: give the big names respect. I think it’ll be aggressive, and I want our lads to be part of the race. They didn’t need any motivation, it’s a team of hungry riders.”
Stephens rode the Olympics himself in 1992. “Almost a century ago,” he joked. “But I know what it means, and this event is the next best thing
to riding it.”
The team for Sunday consists of Simon Richardson, Tom Murray, Steve Lampier, Tom Last and Russell Hampton.
For Motorpoint manager Chris Truett, “it’s a good way to showcase the team, but not the main aim.”
All roads lead to the Tour of Britain, expect Ian Bibby and Jonny McEvoy to feature at the sharp end of the race.
”This is the closest we get, this is our Olympics,” team manager Rod Freeman said. “It’s got the potential to be the biggest race we’ve ever done, but we’ll try to prepare for it in the same way as for Premier Calendar,” he said.
“We’ll try to get some guys in the early break. Getting one of the primes, the King of the Mountains, would be fantastic, a real David and Goliath kind of story. Getting three to the finish would be good,” he said, speaking about the team targets.
He tipped Stephen Gallagher as “proably our best challenger” and Jason White to be up for it.
Tom Barras, Richard Hepworth and Dale Appleby complete the team’s line-up.
“We’re making a big deal of it – any publicity is good publicity, and we’ll be doing our damndest,” sports director James Millard said.
He also pointed to the difficulty at the sharp end of the race. “You need a lot of horsepower to bring a sprinter to the front at the end, it’s not like UK races.”
Simon Gaywood will be their leader, racing alongside Richard Cartland, Ian Knight, Jake Hales and Chris McNamara.
Box Hill declared limited access for Olympic road race
Box Hill set for the London Surrey Cycle Classic