Who really won the women’s nocturne at Smithfield?

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.