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Otley ace Lizzie Armitstead out to boss Marianne Vos in Road World Championships
Lizzie Armitstead believes her Olympic nemesis Marianne Vos is beatable as the Yorkshirewoman prepares to lead Great Britain into tomorrow’s Road World Championships road race in Italy.
Armitstead won the host nation’s first medal of the London 2012 Olympics in torrential rain with silver behind Holland’s Vos, who won the sprint on The Mall before a few weeks later adding the world title.
Vos has won world titles on the road, on the track and in cyclo-cross and appears invincible in the major races.
“She does have this kind of aura around her,” said Armitstead.
“And there have been races this season when she hasn’t been on her best form but she’s still won the races.
“Perhaps people haven’t had the confidence to attack her. Do you attack Marianne Vos? Who has the confidence to do that?”
Armitstead, when in the mood, is likely to do so, but the 24-year-old from Otley expects Vos’ greatest challenge this weekend to come from hosts Italy.
“This World Championships I don’t think she is the favourite,” Armitstead added.
“I think the Italians are the favourites and it’s their race to lose, rather than Marianne’s.
“They’ve got so many options. They’ve got (Giorgia) Bronzini. She’s the only girl at the finish you can be sure can beat Marianne (in a sprint).
“Tatiana Guderzo, the former world champion, can climb stronger than Vos. You’ve got some options there.”
Guderzo won the rainbow jersey in 2009 and Bronzini in 2010 and 2011, before Vos triumphed last year.
Armitstead, a former track world champion but still chasing her maiden road world title, is uncertain if she will be in contention as a gruelling season and challenging 140-kilometre course, with five loops and ascents of Fiesole overlooking Florence, could take its toll out on the open road.
“It’s been a long, tough season, but I’m still very much motivated for the race,” Armitstead said.
“I’m not feeling on top of the world in terms of form, but I don’t think you need to be.
“I think it’s really about who’s got the most character at the end of 140 kilometres.
“(The route) is perhaps a touch too heavy for me, in terms of what suits my characteristics, but I’ll definitely give it a good shot.
“If I’ve got good legs and other people don’t, I’ve got a chance.
“It’s really a case of me being in the right place at the right time and giving myself the best chance.”
Armitstead will have the support of a young squad, including Nikki Harris, two-time world junior champion Lucy Garner and Katie Colclough, who on Sunday was part of the Specialized-Lululemon squad which won the team time-trial but plans to retire at the end of the season, aged 23.
Colclough said: “I’ve done this since I was at school It is time to try something new and different. I’m not sure what I’ll do.”
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