Lizzie Armitstead proves the injuries that plagued her during the 2013 season are well and truly behind her as she leads the UCI World Cup ranking by 160 points and heads into the inaugural Women’s Tour one of the favourites.
The Women’s Tour is coming to Britain this year, what does it mean to race in an event like this on home soil?
It will be the biggest race I have competed in on home soil since the Olympics. It means that my friends and family can come watch me race and enjoy some of the success with me. They don’t get to see me race very often so it’s a really nice opportunity!
You are having an incredible year so far, as current leader of the UCI World Cup do you feel additional pressure to perform at the upcoming Women’s Tour?
This season has gone really well, I am coming to the end of my spring campaign and looking forward to a rest after the tour. I think there is more pressure because I am British, not because I am World Cup leader.
You are on the road a lot, not just on the bike but travelling to and from different events. Do you ever get homesick?
I enjoy being on the road, I miss my friends and family a lot but after a few weeks in one place I get bored!
Do you have any tips or tricks for overcoming travel fatigue?
Try to avoid early morning flights, it’s also good to pack your own food because airport food makes you feel even worse.
What goes through your mind when you are about to reach the finish line and you know you are the leader?
It’s pure elation, and for a few minutes after the race you can just bask in the glory and the feeling all the training was worthwhile.
Do you ever have any low moments during a race? And how do you overcome these?
When I’m nervous it’s a good sign, I went through a period of time last year when I stopped being nervous, that’s because I wasn’t motivated or confident to win. So when I get nervous I embrace it.
You must be very disciplined when it comes to training and nutrition, do you have any guilty pleasures?
I tend to get away with eating most of what I want as I train so much. It’s when I’m back in the UK socialising that I find it hard, I would love to order a deluxe hot chocolate every time I meet someone for coffee!
Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions?
I always like to wear new socks, and for the big races I like to wear as much new kit as possible.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I don’t have a sporting inspiration as I didn’t grow up in cycling. My family are my inspiration as they have always instilled in me to be the best that I can be, in any part of life.
If you had to describe yourself in just three words what would they be?
Loyal, straight forward and caring.
What do you eat the night before/ on the morning of a race?
I don’t do anything special, we eat what we are given in the hotel most of the time. I have a breakfast of muesli and eggs (if available) 3 hours before the start of a race.