As the big name rider in the women’s race at the IG Nocturne in London last weekend, Laura Trott was the perfect winner. The double Olympic champion was the rider that people came to see as she lead her strong Wiggle Honda team around the streets of east London.

But did she win? As Trott crossed the line on the night she was neck and neck with British based rider Hannah Barnes (MG-Maxifuel) and commentator Anthony McCrossan immediately announced it was a photo finish.

Around ten minutes later Trott was announced as the winner.

Four days later readers started to get in contact with Cycling Weekly asking us if we’d seen a finish line picture from the race. We hadn’t. When we started to look it was clear there were none. There is no room for photographers to stand in the road after the finish line at Smithfield, and the lack of light makes it difficult to take pictures from any distance. 

We looked for video footage, but none of it showed the final sprint. We then emailed Face Partnership, organisers of the event, to request the photo finish image to clear up the matter of who crossed the line first.

This morning Face put out a press release saying.

Following Laura Trott’s victory in the IG London Nocturne Rapha Elite Women’s Criterium last Saturday, and ahead of Sunday morning’s Channel 4 highlights, event organisers FACE Partnership would like to explain the circumstances of the result.

Having reviewed footage recorded by Channel 4 for the highlights show (7.35am this Sunday) it is clear Hannah Barnes (MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling) crossed the finish line ahead of Trott (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling).
However, British Cycling Race Commissaires ruled that Barnes had contested the sprint dangerously and relegated Barnes one place to second, thereby awarding Laura Trott victory, on the following basis:
“On examining photofinish, race officials determined that the actual finishi
ng order was reversed.
“However, given the leaders’ proximity in the sprint to a slower group of riders ahead on the road [and an imminent need to brake], officials have given consideration to Technical Regulations 12.1* and 20.12.2** and allowed the provisional result to stand.
“No further disciplinary action has been deemed necessary or appropriate.”
Photographs and video show Barnes lifting her hands off the handlebars before crossing the finish line, while close to riders who were about to be lapped.
The teams of the two riders affected by the decision, MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling and Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling, have both been informed.
Event organisers FACE Partnership support the decision made by British Cycling Race Commissaires.

We asked Face why Barnes’ relegation wasn’t announced on the night, they said they were only informed of Barnes’ relegation earlier this week by the BC commissaires and had since investigated the situation. As to our other questions they said they wouldn’t be making any further comments of answering further questions.

The following screen grab shows Barnes (in blue, raised arms) and Trott (on Barnes’ left) crossing the line behind the TV motorbike with lapped riders on their left and in front of them. Picture taken from BBC footage.

  • steve clarke

    What complete FARCE!!!!
    The BC officials should be named and shamed!
    Lapped riders should’ve been withdrawn well before the final sprint, and anyway looking at the photograph Hannah had plenty of space to celebrate and place hands back on the bars before reaching the lapped riders.

    Also, I’m inclined to again with Dave regarding a “fixed” result for the media…
    NOTHING surprises me in sport!

  • Alberto

    not the expected winner.So just change the result. Inept officials had no control of the riders about to be lapped. On second thoughts lets make it a Wiggle 1-2-3.Perfect for the sponsors
    This is where the officialdom starts to dictate outcomes with protected riders.
    The brief period she took her hands off the bars was momentary and did not endanger other riders. The lapped riders should have fines too. They have effected the outcome of the race and should have been warned by the commisaires to retire in a safe section.

  • gg/gg

    Typical that if a favourite looses excuses are dreamt up. These ladies are Pro riders good bike handlers and would know what is happening around them regarding lapped riders; who should not have been on the circuit. The hands in the air disqualification rule went out many years ago probably before some of the BC officials where in cycling. Grow up BC!!!!!

  • Les Wilcockson

    Why not take it a stage further…BC could decide who’s won BEFORE a race starts and the loosers could enjoy a day off.

  • Trevor

    Totally agree with the comments of Ken Evans and Malcolm – leaves a sour taste and does cycling no favours .

  • Ken Evans

    Lapped riders MUST be withdrawn early, to make sure that the leaders have a clear sprint. This basic mistake has been made by BC officials, over and over again, so many times. When will they ever learn ? Obviously there should be photo finish cameras in place. And yet again the TV camera motorbike in too close to the riders, and getting in the way.

  • Malcolm

    Why were lapped riders left to clutter the circuit during the closing stages? Surely the organisers and BC knew that on this circuit the slow(er) riders would be lapped and get caught up at the finish. On the, generally well run, Tour Series lapped riders are pulled out at 3 laps to go. This gives a clean sprint to decide the winner.
    It’s a great shame to relegate Hannah, and I can’t believe Laura will be celebrating the win.

  • Dave Morrison

    Not the first or last time you’ll see dodgy officials getting the ‘right’ result vis a vis ‘economic’ interests with regard to the media, especially TV. Try supporting an unfashionable football team, especially when playing against a ‘big 4’ brand, without questionning the refereeing.

    However, it’s still harder to rig sport than awards ceremonies and civil honours lists, which really are a joke, or am I naively overlooking betting syndicate interests from around the world?

    Drugs, betting and TV will kill professional sport, if they haven’t already. I rarely watch sport any more beyond supporting my ever failing unfashionable football team, and that has more to do with a day out with mates if I’m honest.

  • Nicola

    I can’t see anyone Hannah is likely to have endangered. By not clearly stating what went on from when the winner was announced, it makes the whole thing feel bad. It can’t be nice for Hannah or Laura to have it playing out like this.

  • Antony Edmonds

    Can I correct the 4th para regarding the reason why photographers did not get a picture of the finish. In fact there WAS a marked area for photographers on the road (from which I got a perfect image in the mens finish). However in the womens race the camera bike was so close that none of us got a finish photo. To their credit when we informed the organisors the situation was improved for the mens race.