Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) will don her new British national championships jersey for the first time on home soil at the upcoming Prudential RideLondon Classique on Saturday, the country's second stop on the Women's WorldTour. It's only fitting that the national champion and one of the world's fastest sprinters lines up on The Mall for a sprint-friendly circuit race that circles St James's Park and passes iconic landmarks as Buckingham Palace.
"I am excited to race in the national stripes at home in the UK and to come into the race with good legs. As a team we are really looking at a podium and we have some cards to play for this," Barnes said in a press statement.
Barnes won the road race and the time trial at the British championships in June. She wore her championship jersey for the first time at Women's WorldTour La Course in France in July.
The RideLondon 3.4km circuit starts on The Mall next to St. James's Park in central London. The route continues clockwise around St. James's Park and past the Horse Guards Parade. It then goes down Birdcage Walk and passed Buckingham Palace and onto Constitution Hill. The peloton will travel up Constitution Hill to the end and then turn around and come back the same way, and head back onto The Mall for the finish line. The women race 20 laps for a total of 68km. Organisers have cut out the section of last year's course that included Admiralty Arch, Big Ben and Trafalgar Square.
Organisers have received some criticism for offering a short circuit race compared to the men's Surrey Classic, but they have also been credited for offering the highest prize pay-outs in women's cycling at roughly €100,000. The race also offers live streaming.
"There are a lot of things I enjoy about Prudential RideLondon," Barnes said. "To start with, the crowds are always amazing as we are racing in central London on a Saturday and everyone really gets behind us regardless if they were there to support us or not. I have a lot of family and friends in London so I love the chance to race in front of them. The television broadcast and the prize pot. All of these things give the race great exposure and showcases our racing style."
Barnes will line up with Tiffany Cromwell, Rotem Gafinovitz, Ella Harris, Christa Riffel and Alexis Ryan. Cromwell said she will be excited to race in London again, particularly on a course that includes London's iconic landmarks. She is also aiming to help her sprinters get on the podium.
"My personal goal is to help the team to a podium performance. To be able to help in the all-important final lead out in support of one of our sprinters," Cromwell said. "I'm just coming off of a little break after a really big racing block. I'm fresh mentally, but perhaps physically not at my peak anymore. But I feel like the crowds will help lift me, I will have some of my good friends coming to watch. So I look forward to enjoying some hard racing with the team and helping us end up on the podium, hopefully the top step."
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