British road and track star Elinor Barker (Drops Cycling) has hit back at negative comments made towards WNT-Rotor rider Kirsten Wild, who was first across the finish line at the RideLondon Classique on Saturday but was relegated for having been judged to have caused a crash that brought down Barker, among others.
Olympic team pursuit gold medallist Barker was left with a broken collarbone, but tried to look on the bright side, writing on Twitter on Sunday: "They say you're not a real cyclist until you've broken a collarbone. Avoided joining the club for the last 15 years, but not much I could do yesterday. Thanks for everybody's messages. I'll be fine."
Wild – looking to take her third victory at the one-day race that takes place in central London, having also won last year and in 2016 – moved to her left in the bunch sprint with around 100 metres to go, looking for some open road having been caught behind a number of other riders. The switch took out Ale Cipollini's Chloe Hosking, with the domino effect of the Australian's fall taking down around 20 other riders, including the reigning scratch-race world champion Barker.
Wild stayed upright and powered through on the left-hand side of the road to be first across the line, only for the commissaires to judge her move as illegal – UCI regulation 2.12.007, article 5.1: 'Deviation from the chosen line that endangers other riders' – relegating the Dutchwoman to last place in the front group (37th), as well as fining her 200 Swiss francs (£170/US$200).
The second-placed rider – Parkhotel Valkenburg's Lorena Wiebes – was handed the race victory as a result.
"A bit upsetting to see comments aimed at Kirsten, though," Barker added in a further tweet. "It's easy to criticise from a slow-mo aerial shot. The real-time reality is that everybody is just hoping that their split-second decision benefits themselves without harming anybody else. Race accidents happen."
Hosking, meanwhile – despite hitting the ground hard and rolling several times – was able to walk away from the crash, "missing skin" and with "a hit to the head".
"For those who saw, I took a bit of a tumble at RideLondon yesterday," Hosking wrote on social media. "Missing skin and took a hit to the head. This morning I'm feeling like I had big night last night, but without the good memories. Will be monitoring the head situation over the next few days."