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Palace finish gives Lizzie real chance to be queen of the road
Lizzie Armitstead is facing the race of her life on Sunday when she competes in the women’s road race.
The 23-year-old from Otley is one of four Great Britain riders in a field of 67 chasing glory in an event that starts and finishes on The Mall.
It is tribute to the remarkable strides that Armitstead has made that she had barely started her cycling career when her team-mate Nicole Cooke won gold in Beijing four years ago.
Now the two of them are competing for the role of designated team leader.
“There’s only one person who crosses the line and wins the medal, but it really is a team sport,” Armitstead said There is considerable debate about who the Olympic course will favour.
In the event of a group finish, Armitstead is Britain’s best bet for gold, but a sprint is not guaranteed. The 140km race – which goes from the Mall, to Box Hill, around Richmond Park and back – is not easy to dictate on but the British team have high hopes with Emma Pooley and Lucy Martin joining Cooke and Armitstead.
There has been talk of a breakaway win and that would make Cooke the favourite.
Significantly, there has been no decision about team orders and that could be left until race day.
Armitstead took silver in the road race at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and won the national road race title last year. This year she has won some important races for her trade team, the Dutch AA Drinks squad, in between training in Yorkshire, Holland, Belgium, France and Italy “Cycling is such a mental sport as well as a physical sport.
“You really need to believe in the training that you do, especially going into the hardest competition you’ve ever had to face before,” she said. “Every little detail has been taken care of, from my nutrition to my core stability work. “The lifestyle changes that I’ve made are for London.
“My dream is to be on the podium and feel like I’ve done myself justice.
“I believe that I have what it takes to be the No1 rider in the team, otherwise I would have stayed on the track.”