TAUNTON’S Elliot Redfern admitted that being roared down the home straight on The Mall by hordes of fans at the Prudential RideLondon Youth Grand Prix would live long in the memory, writes Marios Palaloizou.
The 16-year-old was one of just 48 talented young cyclists picked to contest the Youth Grand Prix in front of thousands of cycling fans who lined the route in support in the capital.
The 45-minute race followed a 1.3-mile loop around St James’s Park and Buckingham Palace and saw 12 teams from regions across the UK compete for a £4,250 pool of prize money.
It was also the same route followed by some of the world’s best females just minutes earlier, including world champion Marianne Vos and double Olympic champion Laura Trott for the Women’s Grand Prix.
And Redfern, who finished 15th for the South-West boys’ team, admitted the experience of riding on closed roads in London was one to savour despite the stiff competition.
He said: “It was a really tough ride. I’m happy with how I did because I only started cycling a year ago so I can’t really complain about that finish.
“My dad has always been a cyclist and I fancied giving it a go and always felt like it was my sport so I gave it a try.
“It was brilliant. The crowd was absolutely immense and it was really amazing coming down that straight and hearing the noise.
“It was a bit surreal when we were coming down because of how iconic it all is so you had to pinch yourself a little bit.
“RideLondon is an amazing event and to share the road with some of the best riders around was absolutely incredible and an experience that I’ll never forget.”
In the end it was the Yorkshire boys’ team who would come out with top honours with their four riders picking up the best combined results for a £500 bonus.
And, despite missing out on the overall Youth Grand Prix prize, Redfern believes the experience is one that can only serve to further his cycling ambitions.
He added: “I hope that this will have made me a better rider and that I can really move on and use it to help me get on some junior teams.
“I’ve never had it where the crowds have been bashing the banners so that is a memory that I’ll take with me and that will inspire me in the future.
“It was great to have the roads closed and have such a focus on cycling because you don’t often see that and it’s amazing that the sport is getting so much attention.”
n Prudential RideLondon was on August 9 and 10. For more, visit www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk