Luxembourg's Jean-Pierre Drucker edged out Dutch rider Mike Teunissen in a thrilling sprint finish to win the London-Surrey Classic.
Team Sky's Ben Swift finished third and was the highest-placed Briton as the race ended in the sunshine at The Mall.
"I am a fast guy so I was pretty confident," said BMC's Drucker.
Sir Bradley Wiggins was riding with his newly formed Wiggins team while Mark Cavendish rode for Etixx-Quick-Step, but neither figured in the shake-up.
The 200km course followed a similar route to that used in the 2012 Olympics road race and was led for some time by a breakaway of five riders that included British duo Pete Williams and Erick Rowsell.
They were caught with a quarter of the race remaining but with 35km to go a group of eight broke clear and steadily increased their lead as they made their way back inside the M25 and towards the finish in London.
Drucker's Lotto NL-Jumbo team-mate Sep Vanmarcke burst off the front and went clear but he was eventually caught and the four-man sprint finish ensued.
"When I looked to Swift in the closing stages he looked a bit nervous," added Drucker.
"I tried to keep his wheel and focus on him. I'm a sprinter who loves it when the race is pretty hard and my team tried to make it a hard race."
It was another frustrating finish for Swift, who lost out to Sheffield rider Adam Blythe in last year's race.
The race followed a picturesque route out of London after starting at Horse Guards Parade and down through the Surrey countryside before winding its way back into the capital.
It formed part of the RideLondon weekend that saw Italy's Barbara Guarischi beat American Shelley Olds in a sprint finish to win the women's RideLondon Grand Prix.
There was also a mass participation RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday that followed a similar route to the men's race in the afternoon.