Italian Barbara Guarischi bookended a whistle-stop visit to the capital by winning the Prudential RideLondon GP on The Mall on Saturday evening.
The 25-year-old Velocio-SRAM rider was only informed she would be competing in the criterium race at the start of the week, and then landed in England barely five hours before she crossed the line ahead of Ale Cipollini duo Shelley Olds and Annalisa Cucinotta in a reduced bunch sprint.
Guarsichi, who had never competed in the race before, said: “This race was not in my programme – I only knew that I would be riding it on Monday. I said ‘oh, really? I’m ready!’
“I only got to my hotel at 2pm today, too! And tomorrow I ride the World Cup race in Germany, the Sparkassen Giro!
Despite the much-anticipated attacks on the pan flat circuit around central London, one notably involving former world number one Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS), the race came down to a bunch sprint for the third time in as many editions.
Helped by a strong lead-out by team-mate and world time trial champion Lisa Brennaeur, Guarsichi was able to stay well placed and only had to start her sprint in the final 150 metres.
“The team were super today – every time we race we ride together, we are really strong together. It’s impossible to win without the team,” Guarsichi added.
Provisional results put GB team pursuiter Katie Archibald (Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International) in fifth, two places ahead of 2013 winner Laura Trott (Matrix Pro Cycling).