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Remember the name... Lizzie Armitstead, Otley's silver bullet
Lizzie Armitstead had cause for a double celebration - not only did she manage to win Great Britain's first Olympic medal at London 2012 but she secured her place as a pub quiz question for decades to come.
Armitstead got her tactics spot on but unfortunately Marianne Vos, a rider so powerful you think she might be fitted with an engine, had just too much gas.
However, it was still a stunning performance from a rider who has transferred her skills from track to road effortlessly.
As she crossed the line her head slumped, not in defeat but in total exhaustion.
"I don’t know what to say," she said. "Coming across that line was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I am a bit shocked to have got a medal.
“It might sink in eventually but right now, it’s just all a bit of a blur. I knew I could be competitive but I also knew how hard it was going to be.”
Armitstead often moans that no-one knows how to spell her name. It's been Armistead, Armistead and Armitage. One Indian newspaper during the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, when she also won silver in very different conditions, even called her Lizzie Armstrong.
But no-one will be spelling her name wrong now and the best cycling legend Lance could ever manage was Olympic bronze.
It's also an irony that it was Britain's women's road race team that brought home the medal. In the weeks before the Games everyone was praising the men's team and their slavish loyalty and commitment to the cause of leader Mark Cavendish.
In contrast, the women's team was in disarray, with reports of friction between Armitstead and Beijing gold medallist Nicole Cooke. But Team GB got their tactics spot on in a race that was much more entertaining to watch than Cavendish and co's performance 24 hours earlier.
Emma Pooley put in a tremendous shift as the riders made two ascents of Box Hill while Lucy Martin and even Cooke played their part as well in often appalling conditions.
“It was an awesome performance from my team-mates, Emma did exactly what was asked of her and that's a great debt I owe her," added Armitstead.
"We discussed what might happen before the race and it played out that way. I got myself into a break but Vos was always going to be dangerous and I knew that before we started.
“The support from the crowd was absolutely amazing, it’s so special to have those people screaming your name.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that before. I couldn’t even feel my legs at the end, I was just racing to the noise, it was incredible.”
After the disappointment of Cavendish, Armitstead’s victory gave boost to the British cycling team, of whom so much is expected at these Games. And while it wasn’t the all important first gold, it was a medal team officials will hope can build momentum.
“She ran the perfect race, in the end she just did not have the legs to beat Vos at the finish,” said performance director David Brailsford.
“Lizzie deserves so much credit for how she raced though, she has worked so hard for so many years.
“We wanted to start off strongly after the disappointment of the men’s race, and we've come back with a bang. Absolute credit to the team for how they raced because they made it happen.
“The nature of the women’s race is different to the men’s in various ways. Lizzie took a risk and it paid off, so well played to her for doing that.
“The girls did it in the rain as well which is incredible, those conditions would be tough for anyone.”
* Lloyds TSB, proud supporter of Team GB and proud partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Get closer to the Games at lloydstsb.com/london2012
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