TalkingShop: Olympic Silver Medallist Lizzie Armitstead

VeloUK talks to one of the World’s top female professional cyclists, Lizzie Armitstead, Silver medallist in the London Olympic Road Race

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Based in Monaco and training with the likes of Men’s World Road Race Champion Philip Gilbert and Adam Blythe as well other world renowned stars, Lizzie Armitstead is certainly one of the World’s top female professionals. Second in the British Road Race Championship behind Sharon Laws, Lizzie won Gent Wevelgem in 2012 on top of being British champion in 2011, second in the Commonwealth Games and a World champion on the track.

Lizzie Armitstead racing at Revolution on Saturday night

The young lady from Otley has come a long way since in her first World Championships in 2005 when I remember that Silver medal on the track as a Junior and also her learning the skills of a road rider from John Herety. Her ride in the Olympic Games was such an inspiration to the public and young female cyclists that much more is expected of this rising star in women’s cycling.

The Revolution on Saturday night saw Lizzie and Marianne Vos competing against each other on the track for the first time in Britain since the London Olympics and as ever, Lizzie’s steely determination on her Dolan bike saw her push Vos all the way to the line in the Devil take the Hindmost and then help steer the British team to a win over Vos in the Team Pursuit.

Asked about her form, Lizzie told VeloUK “I’m very unfit so quite surprised I feel okay. I was preparing myself for the absolute worst but I guess there must be some muscle memory going on out there but it’s still been pretty painful!”

Lizzie on her way to a Silver medal in the London Olympics. Picture Rob Lampard.

For the last few years, Lizzie has been part of a British mafia in various teams along with Emma Pooley, Sharon Laws and Lucy Martin. In 2013, the riders will be spread out between pro teams and when asked how that will be for her, Lizzie replied “I think it’s good and change is good.”

“I’m really pleased for Sharon (Laws) that she is with a team like Lotto. I think she will get opportunities there and I see her producing similar results to what Emma did as she was always her domestique. So that’s a good thing. For me, I’m pleased I’m in a team where I have the freedom to be what ever I want to be.”

Asked will the 2013 season be different to the 2012 one now the Olympics are out of the way, Lizzie says “Yes. I felt a lot of pressure this year with the Olympics to be a sprinter going into London because the theory was a sprinter would win the race. I always had a sneaky suspicion that the Women’s race would not be a bunch sprint. So, I did my best to improve my sprint but I think that was detrimental to my climbing so I am looking forward to being the all-round rider I want to be.”

When I compared her to Marianne, a fair thing to do after the way she battled with the Dutch super star in the London Olympics, Lizzie was her modest self replying “I will always have to fight against Marianne. I wouldn’t put myself anywhere near her level at the moment. I think we’re similar riders, all round riders, but I am few levels below her at the moment. On my day though …”

Looking ahead to the 2013 road season, and asked what the goals will be, Lizzie says “The Women’s Tour of Flanders, the only World Cup Marianne hasn’t won, and it would nice to get their first! For myself, it’s a fantastic race – I love it. Also the British Road Race Championships on the Glasgow course where I want to prove myself for the Commonwealths (Lizzie was second in the last Commonwealth Games) and then there’s the Worlds in Florence (Italy).The course has lots of climbs so I’ll need to lose some weight and improve my climbing for that”.

Our thanks to Lizzie for her time and good luck to the Yorkshire star in 2013.

Lizzie was keen to get the crowd going after their win in the Team Pursuit.

2005 – Junior World Champs and Lizzie is a Silver medallist, the first of many medals she won on the track as a Junior and Senior.

Lizzie winning the British Road Race Championships in the North East.


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