Fans roared as she rode down the home straight on The Mall on Saturday.
Laura Greenhalgh admitted she was blown away as hordes of fans roared the Fulham racer down the home straight on The Mall in the inaugural Prudential RideLondon Women’s Grand Prix on Saturday.
And while it may have been double Olympic champion Laura Trott who claimed the crown in the pro-criterion race just inches ahead of rival Hannah Barnes, the 20-year-old was adamant she would never forget the experience of competing against a top-class, international field.
The Twickenham CC rider was part of a 90-plus strong field who thrilled fans as they raced a 1.3-mile loop around St James’ Park.
The 45-minute ride saw the lead change hand multiple times as leading teams Wiggle Honda – including winner Trott and Olympic omnium-winning teammates Jo Rowsell and Dani King – battled against Australian outfit Orice-AIS and the Barnes-led MG-Maxifuel squad.
Greenhalgh stayed in contention throughout mixing it with a host of multiple medal winners, but despite engineering a strong position for herself going into the final straight, Essex rider Trott’s late burst saw her claim the victory from Barnes and Specialized-lululemon’s Australian racer Loren Rowney to end in 20th place.
It was an incredible performance from the former international rower after calling it a day on her days with Team GB.
“I’ve been riding for about six months to a year,” said the 27-year-old, who won silver at the 2009 World Championships in the women’s four.
“I used to do rowing and when I stopped I just wanted to do something which was fun, and cycling is that.
“And the fact that you can start and be racing with Olympians in almost a year is something that is not possible in a lot of sports.
“I was really pleased with how it went. I managed to stay with the main bunch until the end. There was a few crashes which made it tricky but I managed to avoid them.”
The Grand Prix – which featured one of the strongest international field’s assembled in the UK – was just one of the events held on a course passes several of London’s iconic landmarks on Saturday, with races for junior riders and elite hand cyclists also taking place.
Earlier there was victory for Austrian Walter Ablinger in the hand cycling Grand Prix, the 44-year-old winning from Bury St Edmunds’ Brian Alldis with Heinz Frei of Switzerland third.
Germany’s Andrea Eskau won the women’s title from Farnham’s Rachel Morris and Inverness racer Karen Darke.
There were also races for some of the UK’s best junior riders, with Greenhalgh taking to the streets again 24 hours later for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, which saw her ride 100 miles along the Olympic road race course past some of the city’s most iconic landmarks and through the Surrey countryside.
“It was amazing to be able to ride around London,” she added.
“When you are racing you are not looking at all your surroundings very much but the build up in the morning really made me realise what I was about to it.
“I ride down the Mall to get to work, but this was a completely different situation, especially with the crowd and the noise.
“I’m also riding in the London-Surrey 100 so it is a big weekend. Anyone can ride in that so it is going to be amazing to ride through London with everyone.”
Prudential RideLondon took place on 3 & 4 August. If you’re inspired to ride, visit www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk
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