Rees rides to dream finish at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100

Prudential RideLondon 2014
Rees rides to dream finish at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100
A desire to raise money for charity drove Ian Rees to be first across the line at the end of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 this morning, completing a journey of recovery for the 43-year-old Bristol-based diabetic who was inspired by watching last year’s event.
Twelve months ago the former pro stood leaning on his crutches beside The Mall watching the first ever Prudential RideLondon sportive and promised himself that he would lead the mass riders under the finish gantry in 2014 to raise money and the profile of diabetes research.
After 86 of the hardest rain-drenched miles he’s ever ridden, Rees achieved his dream with the aid of his Bristol Dymag TID clubmates Paul Merryweather and Matthew Franklin, and believes his Herculean efforts will bring in some much-needed funds for the diabetes charity JDRF.
“I couldn’t do it last year because I broke my leg, but I watched it with people from the charity and told them that I would be first across the line this year to raise their profile,” said Rees, his mud-splattered face breaking into a smile of pure relief.
“Here I am a year on, and I did it. I can’t believe it. That was the hardest ride I’ve had since I was a pro in France in the 1990s.”
Rees, who’s never done a sportive before, set up the Dymag club with Merryweather to raise money for diabetes research two years ago after being forced to abandon his pro cycling career when he was diagnosed with the condition.
Prudential RideLondon 2014“This is what we really wanted to do,” said Merryweather, who followed Rees safely across the line at the head of a 60-strong bunch of early-finishing sportive riders.”
“I helped Ian set up the team two years ago so this was all about getting him home first and giving JDRF some profile. So it’s mission accomplished; it’s all quite inspirational.”
The group had a plan to stay near the front of the pack, avoiding as far as possible any problems caused by the adverse weather, and were full of praise for the organisers’ decision to shorten the 100-mile route by 14 miles, cutting out the potentially treacherous climbs up and down Box Hill and Leith Hill.
Prudential RideLondon 2014“We worked so well as a team,” said Rees. “The rain and the speed we were going at the front made it so hard.”
“But it was such a good decision to cut out the hills. I hit a cat’s eye at one point and nearly came off, and there were a few crashes, so I’m really glad they took the hills out because coming down Box Hill or Leith Hill would’ve been deadly.”
“RideLondon have done an absolutely brilliant job. The organisation is as good as a pro race on the continent. I was so impressed, they should do these all over the country. I will do it again next year, definitely.”
Nicola Roberts and Bella Leach were impressed too. The two London friends rode the route together and crossed the line side-by-side, the first women to complete the sportive.
“It was wet but it was great fun,” said Roberts, a member of the Dulwich Paragon club. “It wasn’t too windy so you could still ride. Everyone was just getting on with it really and smiling and chatting.”
“Some of the corners and descents were quite sketchy but people were very considerate, slowing down and talking to each other.”
“I really enjoyed it, it was really good fun to just get out there and stretch the legs,” agreed Leach, a London Phoenix rider. “Nicola and I rode the whole way together so we wanted to cross the line together.”
“I’ve never been up Box Hill or Leith Hill and after today it feels like I’m destined to never ride them!”

Wiggle Honda’s Neil Towns was also among the early finishers, completing his second Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.

“Riding at the front was really exciting,” he said. “I did the event last year. It was slighty damper than last year but still fantastic, still good riding. It’s a lovely bike ride that isn’t too challenging so you can just get out there and ride for the fun of it.”
“There were fewer supporters than last year but the ones who were out gave it some welly. I’ll definitely be back next year.”
“This event’s like the London Marathon for cyclists – if you can get a place you jump at it. A beautiful bike ride; the spirit of the London Olympics carries on.”
Ben Knapp backed up the other riders’ support for the shortened route, relishing a ride started by three world greats of women’s cycling: world and Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos, double Olympic track champion Laura Trott and multiple Paralympic gold medallist Dame Sarah Storey.
Ian Rees - post race

Ian Rees – post race

“It was a bit disappointing to have the route shortened but coming across the top of Newlands was pretty nasty so everyone understood why the organisers did it. It was the right decision,” said the Dulwich Paragon rider.”

“More than a quarter of Dulwich Paragon’s 600 members were riding today so it’s a really great event for everyone.”
“Having Marianne Vos, Sarah Storey and Laura Trott starting the ride was great. We set off feeling really inspired.”
All three women then rode the sportive themselves – Vos delighted to be back on the roads where she won Olympic gold two years ago.
“I’ve never done a ride as big as this; it was really something special,” said the Dutch rider who finished second in yesterday’s Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix.
“Just to ride with all these people and see everyone coming out riding, not caring about the rain was fantastic. It was great fun.”
“It was great to back on the roads of London 2012 and to see more than 20,000 out there too was fabulous. I saw quite a lot of them, I think, and everyone was taking care of themselves and each other.”

Austria’s Ablinger wins again in RideLondon HandCycle Classic

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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.

 

 

 

Bronzini beats Vos to win Prudential RideLondon GP

The Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix
Team Wiggle Honda retained the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix title this evening thanks to Giorgia Bronzini who pipped the world and Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos in a thrilling sprint finish on The Mall in central London at the end of the greatest women’s criterium ever held in the UK.
The Italian timed her effort to perfection to snatch victory by less than a quarter of a wheel over the Dutchwoman who won Olympic gold on the same street two years ago.
Vos led off the final corner from Horse Guards Parade at the end of 15 laps of the 1.3-mile circuit around St James’s Park, but Bronzini was dragged into contention by her teammates Laura Trott and Peta Mullens, and launched herself to the line alongside the world number one.
Bronzini threw her arms in the air and Vos stretched out her hand in congratulations, but it was so close that at first the announcers weren’t sure who would get the verdict.
When the result was confirmed, Bronzini beamed with delight, relieved that she had made amends for her last appearance in London when her chances of an Olympic medal were ruined by a flat tyre.
“That felt so good,” said Bronzini [a former world champion] who celebrated her 31st birthday last Sunday. “Any time you beat Marianne in a sprint you know you’re going to win.”
Twelve months ago it was Trott who snatched victory for Wiggle Honda, but this time the 22-year-old Londoner played a supporting role, aiding Bronzini’s last-lap bid for the line, an effort the Italian was swift to acknowledge after the race.
Prudential RideLondon 2014“In the middle of the race I asked my teammates to make it hard and put in attacks to take the sting from Vos,” said Bronzini. “What I did today was because of the support of my team.”
“I think we made her tired by attacking as a team. That was our tactic today, and in the end it was a great sprint into a headwind.”
 
“She was ahead until 100 metres to go when I passed her, but she came back and I had to push hard in the final 50 and lunge for the line.”
 
“The last time I was here for the Olympics it was not a good day, so this time I wanted to win badly. It is so amazing to win here in such a historic city and in front of these amazing buildings.”
 
“I really like racing in the sun, and today was a beautiful day.”
Vos had come to London in great form after winning the Women’s Tour of Britain in May and the La Course race for women at the Tour de France last month. Wearing number one on her jersey, the team Rabo Liv rider was the pre-race favourite and looked a certain winner when she kicked off the final bend at the head of a large bunch, but later admitted that she couldn’t respond to Wiggle Honda’s determined teamwork.
“It was a hard race with a lot of breaks,” agreed the much-medalled 27-year-old. “On the last lap I was in the right position but you never know in a bunch sprint and I just couldn’t hold it at the end. I launched my attack early, maybe too early, but I am happy with second.”
 
“Today Giorgia was faster on the line. I knew I couldn’t make any mistakes so it was always going to be close. At the end she was just very fast.”
 
“It was so amazing to race here again, especially in such a great race,” she added. “To be part of a criterium with all the world’s top riders was an amazing feeling.”
RideLondonWomensPodium2014Behind the two tearaway leaders, Lizzie Armitstead stole third place for Boels Dolmans from Eileen Roe of Starley Primal Pro Cycling as Trott took fifth ahead of her arch rival, Hannah Barnes of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, last year’s runner-up.
Many had predicted Armitstead would be Vos’s closest rival, but the Briton admitted she was happy with third just a week after winning the Comonwealth Games road race gold in Glasgow.
“I had not really prepared for this because I’ve been concentrating on road races,” said the 26-year-old from Yorkshire. “For me it was not about winning today but about having some fun.”
The first day of the world’s greatest festival of cycling came to a fitting end with two criterium races for youth riders, the next generation of cycling champions racing over the same iconic course as the pros.
Ethan Hayter produced an impressive home win in the boys’ race for London, winning a sprint finish ahead of the South region’s Alex Joliffe after what he described as the perfect lead-out from his teammates.
“That was the greatest win of my life,” said the 15-year-old from the VCL club. “I didn’t expect to win because I wasn’t feeling that well but I knew if we worked it out I would have a chance.”
 
“It was great to race on these streets though. It was so noisy with loads of people all the way round the course.”
Tom Pidcock from Yorkshire was third.
Sophie Capewell from the West Midlands came out on top after a dramatic end to the girls’ race, the 15-year-old edging out Eleanor Dickinson from the North West by centimetres on the line with another North West rider, Henrietta Colborne, third.
“I loved the ride,” said Capewell, a member of the Lichfield City Cycling club. “It was a massive opportunity to come down here and race on The Mall where so many great champions have raced before.”
 
“It was a tough race with a lot of good girls in it. It was very fast but I felt quite strong at the end. The roar from the crowds was amazing pushing us on and when I saw the finish I just went for it.”

Team Giant Shimano on bike camera trials – Stage 1 Le Tour

 

The UCI are continuing their trials of on board bike cameras it’s being put to good use by ASO and Team Giant Shimano it really does show how much concentration and bike handling skills you need to get through each stage never mind a whole tour. These shots come from the bikes of Koen De Kort and Albert Timmer during Marcel Kittel’s opening stage win.