The Prudential Ride London cycling festival closed iconic roads in the capital city to make way for hordes of two-wheeled enthusiasts, fans and professionals.
With 3 days of action packed bicycle entertainment, the event of the year saw thousands of people line the streets, crowd the districts and join in with the festivities. It was impossible to not get swept up in the excitement with the buzz of hubs, and chains singing around the city.
Slap bang in the middle of the weekend, on the Saturday at 17:00, we saw one of the most highly anticipated races, the Prudential Ride London Classique. The world's best female cyclists and teams adorned the starting line to take part in the richest one-day race in the calendar with a 100,000 euro prize pool. The individual winner taking home a whopping 25,000 euro prize for herself.
The 66km race began on The Mall in St James’s Park where the cyclists carried on up Constitution Hill, turning at the top to come down and on to Birdcage Walk before looping back to the start. Each lap measured 5.5km which each racer had to complete 12 times.
With each cyclist lined up and ready to go, crowds lined the course cheering on as the riders passed by. After a controlled lap behind the race car, race mode was engaged and the women got their heads down and feet pedalling. Sprint points were awarded on laps 3, 6 and 9 of the race.
With some tight turns on The Strand, lap 2 saw British athlete, Dani King navigate her way to the front of the peloton.
Heading into lap 3, and with some serious speed, 5 cyclists made for the break with Roxane Knetemann of Ribo Liv leading the way.
With 10 laps to go, the peloton caught the break and regrouped, but not without the efforts of Ribo Liv who pushed hard. After the first sprint lap, it was Lucinda Brand from Ribo Liv to take the points.
With more breaks and aggressive riding underway, the women pedalled into the second sprint lap. With some serious power, but it was Canyon//SRAM rider Alexis Ryan who took the second sprint points.
With all the breaks being quickly caught by the peloton, it was anyone's guess as to who would make for the big winning push.
The final sprint lap, lap 9, began with Jessica Allen from Orica headed out alone to gain some pace on the peloton. Bearing down as she climbed Constitution Hill, Allen was met by Ingrid Drexel (Astana) and Amy Pieters (Wiggle High5) to lead the attack. Like previous attempts, the trio were quickly caught up by the peloton in this cat and mouse game. The final lap sprint points were awarded to Sara Roy.
With the pack still together, they headed into the final lap.
Keeping it close, the riders approached the finish line only for a crash to occur midway back. Fortunately no one was seriously injured. It was finally Kirsten Wild of Hitec Products who steamed ahead, and take the win.
Kirsten Wild (NED) of Hitec Products Cycling Team celebrated her win with Nina Kessler (NED) of Lensworld Zannata Cycling Team , and Leah Kirchmann (CAN) of Liv-Plantur Cycling Team.
Lucinda Brand (NED) of Rabo-Liv Cycling Team celebrated her intermediate sprint points win with Sarah Roy (AUS) of Orica-AIS Cycling Team and Alexis Ryan (USA) of CANYON//SRAM Racing on the podium.
The prize of the winner of the best team competition goes to Rabo-Liv Cycling Team.
The nail biting women's Classique race was just one of the many events from the Prudential Ride London cycling festival to captivate the crowds, and inspire the nation to get on two wheels.