Laura Trott’s sprint victory at the IG London Nocturne could open the gateway to a career as a road sprinter, her manager says.
The double Olympic gold medalist won in a photo finish from former national junior road race champion, Hannah Barnes (MG Maxifuel), on Saturday.
Trott denied Barnes a fifth Nocturne victory after being led out by team-mate and fellow Olympic gold medalist, Dani King.
Team owner and manager, Rochelle Gilmore, told RoadCyclingUK that Trott’s victory had not surprised her.
“Laura had a lot of pressure on her to win the sprint tonight. We wanted Laura to win,” she said.
“We put her up to the test and with tired legs she managed to pull it off. This is the first step for Laura to step up to being a sprinter in bigger races in the future.”
Trott was led for much of the race by team-mate, Lauren Kitchen, who gave signals behind her back to the Olympic champion to count down the laps.
King set tempo with one-and-a-half laps remaining, taking up the pace with an intensity that forced Trott to chase back on to her wheel.
Lapped riders added to the confusion on the final tour, and as Trott searched for King’s wheel, four-time Nocturne winner, Barnes, locked on to it instead.
Trott caught Barnes’ wheel in the finishing straight and drove for the line. The MG Maxifuel rider began to celebrate, but the judges ruled that Trott had pippped her on the line.
Gilmore said she bad been nervous throughout the race and concerned in the build up about exposing her young team to the pressure of the Nocturne, where thousands of people turned out to watch Trott, King, and fellow gold medalist, Joanna Rowsell, race in London for the first time since last summer’s Olympic Games.
The squad selected for London had spent the week clocking up miles in the morning and working on team time trial technique each evening, Gilmore continued.
“We were coming here tired but obviously we’re a strong team. We came here to train hard for the team time trial: three hours in the morning in the hills, and four hours on the track at Goodwood every evening.”
Gilmore, whose team race in the top tier of women’s racing, in the UCI women’s road world cup, praised the standard of the field in London, which included reigning world junior road race champion, Lucy Garner (Argos-Shimano).
“The competition was harder than expected, to be honest. Laura had her work cut out in the finish with Hannah Barnes in the sprint to the finish,” she said.