Lizzie Armitstead planning aggressive approach to British road race title defence
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 28/06/14 2:01pm
Lizzie Armitstead has admitted she is short of peak condition going into the defence of her British national road race title on Sunday but nevertheless intends to be “as aggressive as possible”.
The 25-year-old Boels-Dolmans rider is currently building her fitness back up ahead of next month’s Commonwealth Games following a busy spring and then an enforced lay-off due to illness.
She doesn’t expect to be in her very best form for the national road race, but still believes she has a strong chance of winning on a hilly 101km course in south Wales.
Key to her triumph last year was making life difficult for her rivals and she is planning to adopt a similar strategy 12 months on.
She said: “There will be a lot of competition. Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws are both back and they are always strong contenders, especially on hilly course because they are used to riding on mountains in Europe like I am.
“Then you have got the two younger girls, Lucy Garner and Hannah Barnes, who are both fast finishers, so I will be keen to drop them if I can. Then the whole of the Wiggle-Honda team is strong as a unit.
“I don’t have a concrete plan in place but I will be as aggressive as possible, definitely.”
To peak for the nationals doesn’t really fit in with that because it is a bit too early, but it is still always a big part of my season and I am good enough shape to defend my title and will be really disappointed if I don’t.
Although proud to have worn the British champion’s jersey over the last 12 months, the scheduling of the Commonwealth Games meant Armitstead was forced to shift her priorities for the summer away from the nationals.
She admits her chances of regaining her title have been consequently hampered, but will nevertheless be sad to pass on her title if she fails to win.
Armitstead added: “It is difficult this season because I have had three big goals: the Tour of Flanders, Commonwealth Games and the world championships.
“To peak for the nationals doesn’t really fit in with that because it is a bit too early, but it is still always a big part of my season and I am good enough shape to defend my title and will be really disappointed if I don’t.
“Wearing the national jersey this year has been great and I would be gutted to lose that honour. In Europe it’s a recognisable jersey – everyone understands its significance and where you are from, and I would definitely miss it if I didn’t have it.”