New champions crowned at Brompton World Championship Final
30 Jul 2017, 9:17 a.m.
Catalan cyclist Unai Alvarez Mosquera ended Mark Emsley’s three-year winning streak as the Brompton World Championship Final brought the second day of Prudential RideLondon to a close in spectacular style with a sprint finish on The Mall in central London.
Alvarez Mosquera looked to have lost the race he had led from the start as he wavered and wobbled in the closing stages, but he had just enough momentum to carry himself over the Finish Line ahead of Vojtech Blazejovsky and Nicholas Mugridge.
American track cyclist Elspeth Huyett was the first woman home as the Brompton World Championship also crowned a new female champion.
Huyett’s tactical approach, weaving her way through a number of assembled groups throughout the race, proved decisive in a dominant performance in the women’s competition.
The race is a Lycra-free affair and cyclists braved the conditions in all their mad-cap finery, wearing everything from classic floral suits and dresses to green shamrock patterned kilts and plenty of tweed – which proved to be ill-advised as the rain continued to pour. There was even a rider dressed as one of the Queen’s guards riding past Buckingham Palace.
And while the clothing brought some colour to a cloudy and wet Saturday evening, this was a hotly contested battle for many of the 500-plus cyclists who raced around the 1.3-mile circuit around St James’s Park.
Cycling legend David Millar struggled with his bike at the start last year but had no such problems this time around, but it was Alvarez Mosquera who got away first, unfolding his bike in the traditional Le Mans-style start at an incredible speed to zip away from the rest of the field early on.
And the Basque-born Barcelona resident, resplendent in a pale blue suit, bow tie and bright gold helmet, remained at the front of the peloton from there, seeing off a challenge from Emsley, who had to settle for sixth place.
Alvarez Mosquera nearly lost the race at the line as he looked back to check on the progress of his rivals down the home straight, but he held on – just.
“I can’t believe that I won,” an ecstatic and emotional Alvarez Mosquera said afterwards. “At the third turn I saw a small gap, and realised that I had to go first so I started sprinting.
“When I saw the Finish Line I looked back and realised that the chasing riders were coming at me as fast as a bullet so I tried to sprint again and my rear wheel slipped, so at the Finish Line I threw my bike across the line. I thought I’d come third or fourth.”
It was Alvarez Mosquera’s first time racing in London, but it won’t be the last for the new champion, who also has a Brompton win in his home of Barcelona to his name.
He added: “It’s amazing to win here. I want to cry because I’ve dreamt about winning this race. My family are with me in London this weekend.
“I would love to come back and race next year. It’s my first ever visit to London and I want to come back. The weather is very similar to Bilbao, where I’m from in the Basque Country. It rains a lot over there too. I want to see London’s museums.”
The women’s race was not such a tight affair, as Elspeth Huyett of Richmond, Pennsylvania, finished well over a minute ahead of Jennifer Allum in second and Japan’s Mayumi Kamukazi in third.
Huyett, a track cyclist, skipped the USA national track championships to take part in the race and put in a commanding performance, despite her reservations about her start technique.
“I wasn’t really confident with my folding abilities, so I tried to take my time with it,” she said. “I wasn’t sure where I was off the line, so I just tried to move up every group.
“Once I realised a group was too complacent, I attacked and moved to the next one. I think I ended up in the second group of men.
“I just tried to be conservative and take the corners carefully because I didn’t want to crash. I just tried to hang with the guys as long as I could and I came up past the line with them.”
Celebrities including TV presenters Ben Fogle and Rav Wilding took part in the race, but Alvarez Mosquera and Huyett were the stars of the day in St James’s Park.