THE eyes of the nation focused on Byfleet, West Byfleet, Pyrford and Ripley on Sunday as the RideLondon series weaved its way back into the borough.
The likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish eventually finished as runners-up to Classic champion Jean-Pierre Drucker, who produced the sprint of his life to clinch top spot from Britain’s Ben Swift and Dutchman Mike Teunissen.
Barbara Guarischi was first over the line in the women’s Grand Prix, eclipsing the efforts of London 2012 icon Laura Trott, but the real stars of the show were the brave amateurs taking part in the ‘100’ race.
Adorned in charity emblems and logos, tens of thousands of have-a-go heroes hit the streets of London and Surrey to raise vital cash for good causes across the land – their efforts look set to top £10 million.
Among the riders supporting Woking & Sam Beare Hospices were Paul Swaffield and Clare Harte, both sporting the charities’ famous purple as they went.
At the finish line London Mayor Boris Johnson labelled the event the ‘greatest mass-participation cycling event in the world’.
He said: “Whether it is elite athletes from across the globe, enthusiastic amateurs or families and children who have got into the cycling spirit, it has been a wonderful advert for the sport and the city.
“The event is rapidly turning into the London Marathon on wheels, and I hope it will be a firm fixture in London’s sporting calendar for years to come.”
Now in its third edition, the series also raises funds to be distributed to community projects across the county via the London Marathon Charitable Trust.
Richard Walsh, who is Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Localities & Community Wellbeing, hailed the scheme, saying: “These grants will benefit grassroots clubs for many years to come, highlighting both Prudential Ride-London’s legacy for Surrey and the economic boost the events bring.
“Surrey’s stunning scenery has been on full display as elite riders and amateurs alike have conquered climbs and covered miles of countryside in glorious sunshine, cheered on by crowds lining the route.
“Together they have made this celebration of pedal power a wonderful spectacle which will no doubt inspire many others to enjoy the benefits of taking to two wheels.
“Now we are looking forward to welcoming the event next year and once again showcasing the county to the world.”