Laura Trott (Wiggle Honda) has won the inaugural RideLondon Grand Prix.
The double Olympic gold medalist outsprinted national criterium champion, Hannah Barnes (MG Maxifuel), in front of thousands of people to triumph on The Mall.
There was little doubting the outcome of the finish, although it was close. The victory brings the pair level after Barnes was belatedly awarded victory at the IG London Nocturne in June.
Trott described her lead out from fellow gold medalist, Dani King, as the best she has had.
“Dani just floored it from the last corner so I only had to sprint for about 50 metres. It was so good,” she said.
“I could tell Hannah was on my wheel but I had such a good lead out I knew I was going to win. It was sweet revenge.”
Barnes told RoadCyclingUK that she had known instantly that Trott had gained the victory.
“It was a big enough gap to know that Laura had got it. She had her arms in the air – you can’t really argue.
“I’m a bit disappointed – second place is first loser in my eyes – but against Laura, it’s not like I was beaten by a no one,” she said.
Barnes pledged to go abroad and “find races”, having completed her domestic commitments, but she would not be drawn on plans for next season.
She returned to the UK after the collapse of her Team Ibis team, but such has been her dominance in domestic competition, winning the Johnson Health Tech Series as well as the national criterium championship, there is little doubt that she belongs in the top-tier of women’s racing.
Third place went to Lauren Rowney from Specialized Lululemon. The Australian praised her British team-mate, Katie Colclough, for bringing back a late breakaway, allowing her to contest the sprint.
“We originally planned to get away in a move and stay away for the race,” Rowney told RCUK. “I thought when I got away with Loes Gunnewijk from Orica-AIS and we got quite a gap that it might stick.”
The nature of the course, a flat 1.3 mile lap in St James Park, had made a breakaway impossible, she conceded.
“We didn’t come away with the win, but a podium’s great and to take part in this event was fantastic. To race in front of Buckingham Palace on the strip where Lizzie Armitstead and Marianne Vos battled it out last year was amazing. It’s very inspiring and to race the likes of Laura Trott and Wiggle has been great.”
Thousands of people turned out for the race, held in perfect conditions in St James Park, with the finishing straight on The Mall sending the riders towards Buckingham Palace.
Barnes’ MG Maxifuel team set the early pace, but as the finish drew closer, the Olympic gold medal winning women’s team pursuit squad of Trott, Rowsell, and King had taken control.
A crash took out Rowsell, but the combined efforts of Wiggle Honda and MG Maxifuel managed to pull back a three-strong breakaway.
With a sprint finish inevitable, King worked tirelessly to position Trott. Barnes unleashed her sprint, but confessed afterwards that she had been “swamped’ in the run in.