Trott outsprints Barnes to win Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix
3 Aug 2013, 4:20 p.m.
Laura Trott won the inaugural Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix around St James’s Park in central London this evening, getting what she called “sweet revenge” over national criterium champion Hannah Barnes in a sprint finish.
Trott timed her finish to perfection to take victory in a race she felt she “had to win”.
Led down The Mall by her Team Wiggle Honda teammate Dani King at the end of 15 laps of the 1.3-mile circuit, the double Olympic track champion threw her arms in the air and screamed in delight as she beat Barnes to the line by a single bike length.
“I had the best lead-out ever,” said the smiling Trott, official ambassador of the Mayor of London’s first weekend festival of cycling. “Dani just floored it from the last corner so I only had to sprint about 50 metres. It was so good.
“This feels like my event, so I felt I had to win. I’m so glad I did.”
The 21-year-old Londoner won the Olympic team pursuit track title for Britain with King and Jo Rowsell exactly a year ago tomorrow, and they enjoyed team success again as King took fourth place behind Barnes and Australia’s Loren Rowney.
“I just gave as much as I could,” said King. “It feels as good as winning it myself, to be honest. We work so well together as a team, and this time I was working for her.
“Laura is a London girl, so it meant a lot to work for her victory today.”
Barnes beat Trott in the recent IG London Nocturne race but couldn’t overcome Wiggle Honda’s determined teamwork this time. She was in a strong position coming off the final bend from Horse Guards Parade and chased Trott hard to the finish gantry.
“I could tell Hannah was on my wheel but I had such a good lead out I knew I was going to win,” said Trott. “It was sweet revenge.”
Barnes admitted she was a bit disappointed to be pipped at the line.
“It’s always nice to win,” she said. “But it was a really hard race with attack after attack. I was always on my toes but I got swamped a bit towards the end and couldn’t get through.”
Team Wiggle Honda riders figured prominently from the start with Emily Collins twice escaping off the front of the pack in the early stages. Barnes also showed among the early leaders, while Trott was biding her time, buried in the pack until the second half of the race.
“Everyone was attacking the whole time,” said Trott. “I just said to the girls, ‘Stop trying to get away, just chase,’ because we were wasting our energy.”
It was good advice. With two laps to go, Barnes and her MG-Maxifuel Pro teammates were driving the pace, with King, Rowsell and Trott in fourth, fifth and sixth. Three riders jumped away just before the final lap, only to be reeled in down Birdcage Walk.
A crash at the bottom of the circuit left Rowsell on the road, but Trott and King were ahead of the trouble and King executed the lead-out beautifully to deliver Trott to the line.
“It was a really strong race, and it proves that women’s racing is as exciting as the men’s,” said King, who will cycle tomorrow in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive for her charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
Trott will also start the sportive alongside her dad, Adrian, and her uncle, Nigel.
Another London 2012 gold medalist won the first race of the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix when Walter Ablinger sprinted clear of Britain’s Brian Alldis to take victory in the handcycle event. Former London Marathon wheelchair champion Heinz Frei was third.
Ablinger headed a lead group of four into the last two laps of eight with Frei, Alldis and Germany’s Andrea Eskau on his tail. Frei took the lead on the last lap but Ablinger emerged on the final stretch to pip Alldis by half a bike’s length.
“That was really tough,” said the victorious Austrian afterwards. “It was amazing to come back to London and win again.
“Heinz led on the last lap and I thought he would win because he was working really hard. But then I saw Brian coming up on my right so I followed him and managed to beat him on the line.
“We worked together a lot and the lead kept changing every lap, which kept the speed high. It was riders from four countries working together really well, which I think is great.”
Eskau also celebrated a successful return to London. The double Paralympic champion won the women’s race comfortably ahead of Britain’s Rachel Morris.
Brendan Drewett from Fareham Wheelers was first across the line in the youth race after breaking clear from a group of four on the last lap.
“I really wasn’t expecting to win,” said the 16-year-old. “I’m not used to such big crowds. The atmosphere was amazing; people were really cheering me on.
“I knew I couldn’t sprint from the bunch so when I saw five up the road I attacked them. Another rider broke but I went with him to take the win.”
Ellis Kirkbride of Border City Wheelers was second, with Mathew Walls of Velocity WD-40 third.
Sallie Bichall of Lyme RC was the first girl across the line ahead of Rosa Martin of Ribble Valley.