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Austria’s Ablinger wins again in Prudential RideLondon HandCycle Classic
Walter Ablinger continued a remarkable series of victories in the UK capital when he won the Prudential RideLondon HandCycle Classic on The Mall this morning 12 months after becoming the event’s first ever handcycle champion in last year’s criterium race.

The Austrian, who won Paralympic gold in London two years ago, today left the world’s best riders floundering in his wake as he sped over the 15-mile course from Kingston upon Thames to central London in less than 40 minutes.

 

Prudential RideLondon 2014

Walter Ablinger

“I’m so happy to win again because that was a tough race,” said the victorious Ablinger after crossing the line in 39 minutes 19 seconds. “After the Paralympics in London and the world championships, London seems to be a good place for me.”

“This is my third race here since the Paralympics and I’ve won them all. I wish I could race here every week. Perhaps I should emigrate here.”

A minute and a half behind the flying Austrian was Britain’s Brian Alldis, last year’s runner-up, who was forced to settle for second again when Ablinger opened an unbridgeable gap on a downhill stretch after eight miles.

“It was a long course and there were some tricky climbs, which I hadn’t expected,” said Ablinger, who arrived in rainy London from sunny Spain just one day before the race. “Brian and I worked together well in the first half, then I lost him going down hill and tried to do the last eight miles by myself.”

“I kept my speed high to the end and am really happy to win here again. I didn’t think I could go on my own, so it was a surprise to pull away.”

Alldis had trouble with rain on his racing glasses but held on to second after a sprint finish with Switzerland’s three-times Paralympic champion Heinz Frei.

“I’m a bit disappointed, to be honest, because I was planning to be on top of the podium this year,” said Alldis, who won this year’s Para-cycling World Cup.

“But with such a strong rider I have to happy with second. It’s no wonder he’s world champion in his class. He rode away from me so easily.”

“I will definitely do it again next year and go for top spot. Let’s hope it’s third time lucky.”

Fellow Briton Karen Darke was an emotional winner of the women’s race ahead of Switzerland’s Sandra Graf just a year after being involved in a career-threatening accident with a car.

Darke pulled away from the Paralympic and world champion around the 10-mile point and cruised under the finish gantry in The Mall in 45:52, 40 seconds ahead of her chaser.

Prudential RideLondon 2014

Karen Darke

“Two months before last year’s race I was hit by a car and I limped around the course wondering if I’d ever be able to race properly again.”

“It’s so lovely to be back and to be able to win in this way. I feel very lucky.”

“I’ve not been going that well in road races,” added Darke, who won Paralympic bronze at London 2012. “But this is a really good course with a few wicked hills. I’ve got the worlds in three weeks time so it gives me great confidence for those.”

“The rain today was no trouble at all. I live in Inverness, so this is nothing.”

Another Briton, Jennifer Browning, was third, nearly seven minutes behind Graf.

 

 

 

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