Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Kirsten Wild proved her status as one of the fastest ever sprinters in the women’s peloton with her second victory in the Prudential RideLondon Classique race on The Mall, in central London. The 35-year-old Dutchwoman powered after a strong early sprint by European Champion Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling), and passed her compatriot in the final metres before the line, to take the black and orange team’s third victory in this prestigious event’s six-year history. Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-PBM) was third.
“To be honest I didn’t feel that good during the race,” Wild said afterwards. “I was a bit stressed, already before the race, and I was really struggling with my positioning. I kept holding on at the back, but then the girls said ‘stray calm, we’ll bring you to the finish.’
“Then Lisa [Brennauer] came to me and said ‘Kirsten, I’ll stay with you,’ and that’s what we did.
“In the last lap we came together,” Wild added, as the team massed around her in the build up to the final sprint. “That’s what we planned. We just stayed together and it just worked really well. In the roundabout I thought I was going to win because I thought ‘I’m in a good position, this is possible!’”
Vos, who won the Olympic Gold Medal on the very same road in 2012, looked to have opened an unassailable lead as the rest of the sprinters massed on the opposite side of the road. Wild, and lead out rider Brennauer, were wise to the multiple World Champion’s move however, and responded quickly.
“She came from really far back,” Wild explained. “In one way that was a good thing, because I saw her and then I knew I needed to go, because otherwise I would have waited maybe too long because I was a bit scared of the headwind. It was a big headwind in the last stretch.
“I think that when she started I had to start, so that was maybe good.
“Lisa shouted in my ear: ‘Go! Go! Go!’” she laughed.
Wild’s victory was another that owes much to the teamwork of the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling riders who, even with Australian Macey Stewart joining the RideLondon squad as a late replacement, saw everybody coming together in the points of the race that mattered most.
“This was my first race with Macey,” Wild said. “But we could find each other really well, and I think it went really well.”
the Prudential RideLondon Classique is Wild’s third UCI Women’s WorldTour victory of 2018. Although the distance was short, at little more than 60km, the importance of the event, and the prestige of its location, makes it as important as the others, if not even more so.
“It’s a WorldTour, so the distance doesn’t matter,” she said. “But if you look at the results it would have been the same if it was 120km, it’s the same riders in the front.
“For me it doesn’t matter if it’s a WorldTour, or if it’s 120km or 60km,” Wild added. “It’s just a really big race in a super location!”
1. Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
2. Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling)
3. Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-PMB)
Photo Credit: Vélofocus