RideLondon Classique: Charlotte Kool kicks for final stage victory, seals GC win

Dutch speedster Kool tops Dygert and Deignan on final podium of three-day Women's WorldTour race.

Photo: Getty Images

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Charlotte Kool (Team DSM) bossed Sunday’s big bunch sprint to score an iconic stage victory and secure the overall title of the RideLondon Classique.

Kool was navigated into position by teammate Pfeiffer Georgi before sprinters mobbed across the road for a chaotic finish on the historic stretch down London’s Mall boulevard.

The Dutch powerhouse muscled out of the center of the pack, and held off the charge of Chloé Dygert (Canyon-SRAM) to claim her second win of the race and record the first stage-race title of her career.

Now with seven victories this season, the 24-year-old continues her meteoric progress through the sprint elite after she spent previous seasons working for teammates.

“I’m really happy, this one’s for the team,” she said at the line. “How we did it today, how strong the girls were, was really impressive, so this is really for the team.

“We go now to the Tour de France Femmes and that will be my main goal for the summer. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Dygert finished second on both the final stage Sunday and second overall in what has been a remarkable return to the bunch. Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) likewise saw a remarkable return to racing with third overall.

The Classique closed out with a Zwift-style circuit around the center of London. The criterium-style parcours and the mass of teams looking to ensure a sprint meant no breakaway truly stuck until three riders got away with 45km to go.

Sofie van Rooijen (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Grace Lister (DAS-Handsling), and Victoire Berteau (Cofidis) made the break but were never given much more than 90 seconds.

The catch was made inside the final 10km before DSM, Jumbo-Visma and Trek elbowed for space for the sprint.

Lucinda Brand led the race into the final straight for Trek-Segafredo, but it was Georgi and Kool that made it count in the final kick for the line.

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Stage 2: Chloé Dygert delivers comeback victory in thrilling final

Chloé Dygert (Canyon-SRAM) claimed her first road victory in almost two years at the RideLondon Classique.

Dygert, who only returned to full time racing this season after years of injury and setback, sprinted early out of a small group and beat back a challenge from Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) to score her first WorldTour win.

Dygert’s last road victory was in the 2021 U.S national time trial championships. The hangover of her horrific crash in 2020 and a series of health issues set her back ever since.

Victory on Saturday marks the high-point of a season of close-calls for Dygert and makes for a very promising sign of recovery.

“I had a bit of bad luck yesterday but we went in with big opportunities today. Maike almost had the win solo, and then Soraya led me out perfect,” Dygert said at the finish.

“I worked really hard, but I’ve had such great support. Canyon-SRAM has stayed by my side through this whole process. They never gave up on me, neither did my family and personal team, and my boyfriend.

“I’m really happy that I could pull this off for everybody, it was a team effort.”

The final of the stage into Maldon delivered big on drama.

Dygert’s teammate Maike van der Duin roared into the final at the end of a 10km solo flyer.

Trek-Segafredo was chasing hard when a crash in the middle of a two-dozen chase pack left a bunch of riders sumersaulting over their bikes and hitting the tarmac hard.

Overnight GC leader Charlotte Kool (DSM) was caught in the carnage, but able to ride to the finish.

The crash came within the final 3km, and so time gaps were neutralized, meaning the Dutch speedster takes a 5-second GC lead into Sunday’s closing stage through London.

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Stage 1: Charlotte Kool wins reduced bunch sprint

Charlotte Kool wins stage 1 of the RideLondon Classique
Charlotte Kool wins stage 1 of the RideLondon Classique (Photo: Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Charlotte Kool (Team DSM) blitzed the rest of the pack to take a dominant sprint win from a very reduced group on stage 1 of the RideLondon Classique.

Kool was moved into the wheel of the already sprinting Clara Copponi (FDJ Suez) by her DSM teammate Pfeiffer Georgi before moving into the wind with less than two kilometers to go. There were just 12 riders left in the leading group after an attack went off the front in the last 30km

The Dutchwoman eased past Copponi as Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) held on to take third place in her first race on home soil since 2021. Meanwhile, Chloé Dygert (Canyon-SRAM) managed to make it into the front group despite suffering a crash earlier in the day.

“It was an easy day from the beginning and we tried to get the gap steady and we did really well. In the final, we did full racing so we had to adapt a bit but we were with the right girls in front. We had to finish it off but Pfeiffer did a perfect leadout so it was a dream start,” Kool said afterward.

“For us, it was not really a problem if the bunch came back to be honest, but I think it was a really nice final to race.”

The opening stage took the riders 149.7km from Saffron Walden to Colchester. While it would ultimately end in a sprint, the rolling and twisting terrain ensured that it wasn’t quite that simple.

An early two-rider group got away with Francesca Morgans-Slader (AWOL O’Shea) and Hanna Johansson (Coop-Hitec Products) going off the front. Scarlett Souren (Parkhotel-Valkenburg) tried to join but she never made it and would be passed by Danielle Shrosbree (DAS-Handsling) after the first classified climb of the day.

The bunch was pushing a high pace behind and the breakaway was absorbed just inside the final 50 kilometers. A crash in the bunch, which was caused by a rider hitting some traffic furniture, brought several riders down, including Dygert.

The U.S. rider was down on the ground for a while, but she remounted and would soon make it back into the bunch with the help of some teammates.

By that stage, the action was really heating up with Trek-Segafredo attacking up the road with Deignan. Other teams joined in and a small group went clear of the peloton, including pre-stage favorite Kool. Dygert missed the initial move but got across the gap, initially with the help of a teammate before going solo.

Kool kept her cool amidst more attacks and was in the perfect position when the finish line loomed into sight to take what could be the first of several wins this week.

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