Laura Trott leaves it late to claim RideLondon victory
Laura Trott wins by a matter of inches from Hannah Barnes to claim the inaugural Prudential RideLondon Women's Grand Prix
Laura Trott secured a thrilling victory by a matter of inches from Hannah Barnes to claim the inaugural Prudential RideLondon Women’s Grand Prix title.
The double Olympic champion and Wiggle Honda rider and her MG-Maxifuel rival were neck and neck as they raced towards the finish line in front of packed crowds on The Mall.
But Trott dug deepest and raised both arms aloft as she added another crown to her growing catalogue of wins.
In a race reduced to 45 minutes after an injury to a junior rider earlier in the afternoon, the 21-year-old from Harlow was among the early leaders in a world class international field.
Barnes, winner of the recent IG London Nocture, was never far from the front, however, with the pair jockeying for position on the 1.3-mile loop around St James’s Park.
City of Edinburgh’s Katie Archibald set the pace as the field moved through a dozen laps claiming the first intermediate sprint victory.
The pace slowed at halfway as a Wiggle Honda outfit containing Olympic champions Dani King and Jo Rowsell took turns to control events at the front of the field.
But the speed ratcheted up again as the lap counter ran down with Helen Wyman of the Kona/FSA Factory Team claiming the final intermediate sprint.
With two laps to go a breakaway trio were pulled in and Rowsell hit the front only to suffer a suspected broken collarbone as the leading riders gathered for a final push.
That set up a grandstand finish between Trott and Barnes with the Olympic omnium and team pursuit champion showing her class to open up the smallest of gaps as they crossed the line, with Australian Loren Rowney of the Specialized-lululemon team grabbing third.
“The whole event has been amazing, I’m so glad they’ve pulled it off and everyone has had a great time but I hope this does become an annual event so that it carries on the legacy of 2012,” said a delighted Trott after the race.
“I did feel the pressure coming in, more for myself as I wanted to win so badly but I really enjoyed it, it was a good race.
“Cycling is getting bigger and bigger and I feel that we are becoming a cycling nation. It’s just great that we can get young riders involved.
“The crowd was amazing, and the course suited me perfectly, left hand turns which I absolutely love, and a massive long finishing straight.”
Towcester racer Barnes remained upbeat after the race, praising the crowds who flocked to support the 90-plus riders contesting the ride.
“It was amazing to race, especially to straight in front of Buckingham Palace where the Olympics were,” said the 20-year-old. “The crowds were unbelievable the whole way around, it’s a great event.
“It was a close race and finish but to come second to Laura Trott is like a win to me. I’m really chuffed.
“It’s great to have a race like that in Britain. I never thought I would see it. Having people shout my name even though there was an Olympic champion in the field was great. It kept me going.”