Mayor of London Boris Johnson described the 2014 Prudential RideLondon festival of cycling as “a fantastic advert for cycling in the city” as the award-winning weekend came to a successful close on Sunday evening (August 10).
A year ago Johnson was one of more than 16,000 finishers in the first Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, and today more than 20,000 amateur riders completed the sportive after 60,000 families, friends and fun-seeking pedallers had poured onto the closed roads of central London on Saturday for the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle.
Yesterday evening, Italy’s Giorgia Bronzini produced a sprint finish of stunning speed to beat world and Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos in the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix, ending a fabulous first day that had started with a Guinness World Record for the Prudential RideLondon Bike Bell Orchestra and 639 bell ringers.
In the afternoon, Andrei Burton and his team of world-class trials bike riders stunned the crowds with seven stunt bike world records at the Festival Zone in Green Park. And this evening the whole weekend came to a thrilling conclusion on The Mall when national circuit race champion Adam Blythe beat fellow-Briton Ben Swift in a dramatic finish.
“This weekend Prudential RideLondon has cemented its status as the world’s premier mass-participation cycling event,” declared Johnson.
"From all the families and kids who’ve hopped on to the saddle, to the elite athletes and enthusiastic amateurs who’ve battled through driving rain, it’s been a fantastic advert for cycling and for our city.”
Event director Hugh Brasher hailed the event as “a fabulous celebration of cycling”.
“We are delighted to have built on the success of last year’s inaugural event by putting cycling and cyclists well and truly in the spotlight once again,” said Brasher.
“Having won seven awards in year one, we had set the benchmark high. From the moment our orchestra, accompanied by more than 600 cyclists, broke a Guinness World Record to the finale this evening, with a British one-two in the best one-day Classic ever staged in the UK, this event has without doubt underlined its claim to be the greatest cycling festival in the world.
“Despite difficult weather conditions today, more than 20,000 amateur cyclists rose to the challenge of riding an 86-mile route through London and Surrey as they took on the sportive.
“We were impressed that so many riders braved the wind and rain. To have 25 per cent more finishers this year than in 2013 cements the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100’s reputation as the new must-do event in the UK sporting calendar.”
Martin Gibbs, director general of the international cycling federation, the UCI, experienced some of the event himself when he rode this morning’s rain-drenched Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.
“It was fantastic to see so many people on bikes coming through the centre of London on closed roads,” he said. “Everyone had a smile on their face despite the weather; it was great to see.
“We want more events like these. The spirit out on the road was great, everyone was looking out for each other and keeping it sensible and having a good time.
“I’ll be back next year hopefully for some better weather. If London can organise it then other cities should be able to follow.”
That sentiment was echoed by former Tour de France winner Stephen Roche, who rode Sunday’s sportive for Team Skoda.
“RideLondon has been absolutely great for cycling; every capital city should have one,” said Roche who won cycling’s triple crown in 1987. “It’s a great initiative and great to see so many people out.”
The ballot for next year’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 opens online on Monday 18 August 2014.
Next year’s Prudential RideLondon festival will be held on the weekend of Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 August 2015.
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