Lizzie Armitstead has had an amazing season – winning the UCI Women’s World Cup by a clear margin, and today claiming the rainbow jersey in Richmond.
After 130km of hard racing, it was Armitstead who crossed the line first, with Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) second and Megan Guarnier (United States Of America) in third.
The win looked to be in jeopardy when a group of nine broke away with just two laps to go – gaining a gap of around a minute. Armitstead had no team mates with her, but strong chasing from other nations, including Dutch riders rooting for Van der Breggen, meant that the escapees were caught.
Armitstead fought to catch the final two breakaways – Italy’s Lauren Kitchen and Australia’s Rachel Neylan – on the penultimate climb, almost gaining a gap herself, but not enough to save the race from concluding in a sprint.
Finding herself on the front of the group as the finishing straight approached, Armitstead waited until Van der Breggen launched followed by Guarnier – before springboarding for the line.
Clearly overwhelmed, Armitstead said after the race: “This is the big one. You get to wear the jersey and the rainbows are a very special thing in cycling. I just couldn’t believe it. I didn’t get to celebrate. I really was going all the way for that line.
“It was such a strange sprint for me because I was on the front leading it out. I was waiting for the rush to come and it never came. It was just perfect.”
“It’s really strange. I can’t believe it. I’m still in shock. I’m so happy.”
We’re so happy, too. Congratulations Lizzie!