London 2012

Armitstead to hit the road

Yorkshirewoman determined to be team leader in London

Last Updated: 15/11/11 4:21pm

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Lizzie Armitstead: Chose to ride in the Olympic road race

Lizzie Armitstead: Chose to ride in the Olympic road race

Lizzie Armitstead is set to turn her back on the track and seek Olympic gold in the road race in London next year.

Ideally Armitstead, a world champion on the track and national champion on the road, would ride in both disciplines next summer.

However, Olympic regulations dictate the omnium rider must also come from the group which competes in the team pursuit.

So Armitstead, who won world team pursuit gold in 2009, had a decision to make.

"Having seen the road course and the way in which the women's endurance programme is progressing on the track, I don't think it's possible (to do both)," Armitstead said.

"It's a difficult decision. You have to be completely committed to the team pursuit and in order to do that I'd have to give up road.

"It's difficult to look at the velodrome today and see the atmosphere and the stadium that I'll be missing out on, but the whole of London will be atmospheric.

"A decision is made, just because of the fact I didn't want to miss out on the road race.

"I had to choose between both of them and I can't commit to the team pursuit girls as much as I can commit to the road race because that's what I'm passionate about.


"The Mall is quite iconic as well and to race down there and cross the line in a setting like that would also be very special."

Laura Trott or Dani King - team pursuit world champions in March and European champions last month - will likely take the omnium place.

Both have performed strongly at European and world level in the six-discipline event which will make its Olympic debut in London.

Armitstead, meanwhile, will aim to be leader on the road of a British team which includes Nicole Cooke, the 2008 Olympic champion.

Armitstead was caught up in a crash late on in the finale of September's World Championships in Copenhagen but recovered to finish seventh, while Cooke finished fourth.

The result left the 22-year-old from Otley "gutted", but she believes the British women's team, which also includes Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws and a host of young talent, have the ability to emulate Mark Cavendish's men's squad by controlling a race and delivering victory.

"We definitely have the talent to be able to do that, it's just coming together as a team.

"My Olympic campaign starts with my first road race (in February). I want to prove that I'm getting results early on so there's no question about who the leader should be."

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