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Laura Trott wins inaugural Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's double Olympic champion won the inaugural edition of the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix on The Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace, after a perfect lead out from fellow Olympic champion Dani King. Local rider Trott crossed the line more than a wheel's width clear of national criterium champion Hannah Barnes (MG-Maxifuel), with Australian Loren Rowney (Specialized-lululemon) just pipping King for third place.
"Fair play to Dani, she absolutely floored it!" Trott said after the race. "I could feel people on my shoulder, but I needed to be at the front this time, I didn't want people around me. So I shouted to Dani to go an it just worked out perfectly.
"I like this course a lot more, there are no tight turns, it's just left hand corners, which is much better for me," she joked.
On the fast open circuit, which circled St James's Park in an anti-clockwise direction, the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team of Trott, King, fellow Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell, New Zealander Emily Collins and German Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier, were constantly on the attack. Although nobody was able to escape the peloton, the aggressive tactics had the effect of blunting the sprint trains of the other teams.
"Because it was such an open course we just had people attacking," Trott explained. "Even I was attacking, although I was going to be the team's sprinter, but with five laps to go we decided to stop attacking and start chasing. There was no point just to keep using people to get up the road because nothing was staying away.
"Then with five laps to go I just stuck on Dani's wheel. There was no communication between us, it was just all or nothing, she just knew that I was there."
For the three Olympic champions, the race was all the more special as London celebrates the first anniversary of the 2012 Games.
"Me and Dan missed out on riding on the roads because we were in the velodrome, so it's so nice to come back a year on," Trott said. "And for me, Dani and Joanna it's actually a year to the day since we won the qualification, so it's a pretty big day!"
"Special memories," King concurred. "To be back, and the crowds are amazing, it keeps you motivated to ride your bike and I love it.
"It was just perfect tactics," she said. "We rode so well together as a team, going in pairs. We never let anyone get up the road on her own, and if someone did then there was always someone there to counter when it was closed down. So it was just a perfect team race.
"A couple of people led into the last corner, and I knew it was a headwind, so I was patient," King explained. "Then when Laura shouted I got out of the saddle and went as hard as I could, and she came round me. It was perfect."
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's celebrations were muted a little by the news that Rowsell, who had been brought down by a crash on the final lap, had suffered a broken collarbone and will miss the World Cup team time trial in Sweden later in the month.
1. Laura Trott (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
2. Hannah Barnes (MG-Maxifuel)
3. Loren Rowney (Specialized-lululemon)
4. Dani King (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)