Prudential RideLondon 2014
2014's event will be remembered for the challenging weather conditions and the amazing spirit of camaraderie and endurance that participants in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and Classic events demonstrated when the rain was pouring down and the wind was blowing.
Saturday 9 August was a beautiful sunny day for the FreeCycle and Grand Prix events and around 60,000 people took to the streets of London on their bikes to enjoy the FreeCycle. Prudential's volunteers were out in force handing out flags, sunglasses and other goodies to spectators along the route and at the festival sites.
Thousands also lined the route for the women's Grand Prix to cheer on Giorgia Bronzini, who pipped the world and Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos to the post in a thrilling sprint finish on The Mall in central London at the end of the greatest women's criterium ever held in the UK.
Sunday 10 August saw a dramatic change in the weather as the tail end of Hurricane Bertha hit the UK, bringing with it wind and heavy rain. This didn't deter the riders in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 as over 21,000 of them lined up to start the event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Despite the route being cut short to 86 miles due to safety concerns, there was an amazing sense of achievement among the 20,709 finishers as they crossed the line with stories of camaraderie and new friends made along the way. Spectators still came out in force to cheer on friends and family and our volunteers braved the conditions with a smile to encourage those taking part. The sun did come out from time to time so some lucky riders managed to cross the line bathed in warm sunshine.
There was not much improvement in the weather when the handcyclists set off from Kingston upon Thames in the Prudential RideLondon Handcycle Classic to race over 15 miles into central London. Austrian Walter Ablinger continued a remarkable series of victories in the UK capital when he won the event on The Mall 12 months after becoming the event's first ever handcycle champion in 2013's criterium race.
2014's Classic was a hotly anticipated event with the return of Sir Bradley Wiggins to the streets of London and Surrey to tackle a similar route to the 2012 Olympic Road Race in which he took part. The race didn't disappoint with Adam Blythe winning the battle of the Brits to cross the finish line first ahead of his friend Ben Swift in a dramatic sprint finish on The Mall.