Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5) was a happy woman after winning her second Prudential RideLondon Classique, two years after her first victory on The Mall. Wild sprinted with tactical nous when going after Marianne Vos (WaowDeals) when the European champion made her jump early into a headwind.
"It was a really hectic final," Wild said. "We decided to group at the front with the whole team on the last lap, and we did quite well, staying on the left side and out of the trouble. Then in the last 2km I was with Lisa Brennauer, who brought me to the front. On the finishing straight, I had to be aware of the headwind and could not start my sprint too early. That was the biggest challenge for me, but a gap opened and I could pick my own line. When Marianne Vos attacked, I followed her, and I just won!"
Just a few days ago, Wiggle High5 team owner Rochelle Gilmore had announced that the team would fold at the end of the season. With this in mind and herself, her teammates and the team staff facing an uncertain future, Wild's victory was a very valuable one.
"It was a really important race for the team, we brought a strong team and were really focused. For a British team to win here in London, it is superb. You do not see much of it when you race, but now, when I look at all the people here, it is just amazing. It is so cool that they all came to watch the race and cheer for us."
Dutch team WaowDeals also had a good evening in central London as Danielle Rowe won the intermediate sprints competition. In the final sprint, Marianne Vos was ahead for a long time, but lost out to Wild in the end. Sports director Eric van den Boom was satisfied with the team performance. "In the tactics meeting we agreed to have Dani chase the intermediate sprints, and she did that very well. Marianne was waiting for the final sprint, and in the final lap the girls went to the front well to put her in position. But Wild is not just any sprinter. In the end, everything has to go right to win such a race."
Last year's winner Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) had won the OVO Energy Women's Tour in June and hoped to defend her RideLondon Classique title, but in the end, the US champion only finished in sixth place. Rivera was self-critical in her comments on the team website and took some consolation from her team winning the team classification.
"London is always a hectic race, and we made some mistakes in the heat of the moment. The last lap was super chaotic but Floortje, Leah, and Lucinda were able to still pull off a great lead-out for me in the final kilometre. I am sad to not have done better for the girls but in this sport you lose more than you win. We take some learning points to the next races and I am still proud of how we adjusted to the situation. It is great for us to bring home the team classification win for the second year in a row, too."
Jolien D'hoore (Mitchelton-Scott) was another sprinter who had hoped for more, but had to settle for a seventh place. The Belgian admitted that the team may have misjudged the final.
"The team did a great job but maybe we started a bit too early. We were one rider short with Jess Allen unable to start due to illness, so we missed that extra rider in the last two kilometres. The girls worked so hard for me and I am grateful for their support. I chose the Team Sunweb train in the last 600 metres but they did not speed it up and I got boxed in on the right side. I am so disappointed because I feel like I did not do my sprint at all. I wanted to show what I can, but I did not have the chance and I'm really gutted."
The UCI Women's WorldTour continues with the Vårgårda WestSweden TTT on August 11, followed by the Vårgårda WestSweden RR on August 13.
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