Golden GB star sets sights on RideLondon ahead of Olympics

Despite having never cycled 100 miles before, Team GB gold medallist Joanna Rowsell admitted she cannot wait for the Prudential RideLondon event on August 2.

Rowsell was on hand to give advice to journalists, sponsors and former England Rugby World Cup winner Martin Johnson, as they went through a gruelling spinning class at the summit of the Shard.

The event, organised by Prudential and led by personal trainer Marvin Burton for Wattbike, was billed as Europe’s highest cycling masterclass, taking place on the 72nd floor of London’s iconic building.

Prudential could not have picked a better day for the event and Rowsell quipped that the view was perfect distraction to those involved in the 30 minute workout.

“It’s a fantastic, unique event – the higher you go up, the better the view becomes so it’s a fantastic place for a cycling class,” she said.

“It’s all based around the RideLondon in August and I think spinning is a great way to train for a 100-mile event, especially if you don’t have a lot of time.

“I took part in the Prudential Women’s grand prix back in 2013, but unfortunately I crashed and so couldn’t take part in the 100 mile event the next day.

“I’ve never done 100 miles before so it will be a big thing for me to ride that far, but I’m really looking forward to getting going after the disappointment last time.”

The RideLondon route begins at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a venue where Rowsell knows well after her gold medal success there three summers ago.

But having grown up in Sutton, she admitted that the end of the race, passing through areas in south west London where she cycled as a youngster, would be just as exciting as the start.

“I lived in Cheam growing up and competed for Sutton in the London youth games and it was a great place growing up for cycling,” she said.

“It’s great that so many of the places where I used to cycle like Epsom, Surrey Hill and Boxhill, are now world famous training grids.”

It’s no secret that Britain has undergone something akin to a cycling revolution over the past decade, following outstanding performances from Team GB at the Beijing and London Olympics.

And although the increased exposure and popularity of the sport has largely been a boost to British cyclists, the added scrutiny on performances has also been as high as it’s ever been, something Rowsell knows only too well.

“I’m not making excuses for the performance at the World Championships in Paris [in February], obviously there was disappointment across the squad but there were positives such as the men’s pursuit winning silver,” she said.

“I think the team will do brilliantly at Rio, we had a lot of coaching changes this winter and once everyone is fully settled and have adapted to their roles we’ll be in a good place.

“So don’t write us off!”

Having been a part of history at the Shard on Wednesday, Rowsell and the rest of GB’s cycling team will no doubt be looking to add their own history in Rio next summer.

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