Armitstead in perfect form to lead Great Britain women at road world championships

Armitstead in perfect form to lead Great Britain women at road world championships

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Lizzie Armitstead will lead Great Britain’s women at the UCI Road World Championships as she attempts to follow up her silver medal-winning performance from the London Olympics.

Women’s road coach Chris Newton confirmed that the 23-year old will front Great Britain’s contingent on Saturday 22 September when the elite women’s race takes place in Limburg, Netherlands over a 129km course.

In Holland, three of the Olympic quartet – Nicole Cooke, Emma Pooley and Armitstead – will be joined by British road champion Sharon Laws, Nikki Harris and Katie Colclough for the road race with Great Britain using six of the seven spots they were allocated from the UCI rankings.

They will hope to repeat August’s Olympic road race effort, where Great Britain found the ideal alchemy to eventually allow Armitstead to form part of the break from which the medals were allocated, the Otley-based rider sandwiched between gold medallist Marianne Vos and Olga Zabelinskaya in bronze.

It is a result that Newton says has galvanised the group going into the world championships.

“I think it’s fair to say Lizzie would be a leader in that team given how she rode at the Games,” Newton said.

"I can see the form there, I can see Lizzie as one of the strongest riders we have got for that race."

Women's road coach Chris Newton

“It was never a fluke medal. Lizzie grafted so much in that race to get that result and had the help from teammates as well but had to put in so much. I can see the form there, I can see Lizzie as one of the strongest riders we have got for that race.

“The riders from the Games have had a massive emotional high and low coming off their Games. You take that into consideration and give them a bit of space, let them adjust then move onto the worlds. We’ve got the likes of Sharon Laws, Nikki Harris and Katie Colclough, all very capable riders - a good strong team.”

As well as medal aspirations in the road race, Emma Pooley could complete a hat-trick of world championship medals next Tuesday in the elite women’s time-trial. The 29-year-old triumphed in Australia in 2010 and backed the performance up on a flatter course - less suited to her strengths - a year later with bronze in Copenhagen.

There was disappointment in the Olympic time-trial, where Pooley finished outside the medals in sixth but a hillier course in Limburg will be a more attractive proposition, as she enters on the back of overall victory in the 2012 Cycliste Feminin International de l'Ardeche in France earlier in September.

“Emma was a key rider at the Games. You take London, she learns from it,” Newton said.

“There were things as a rider she could have done better but every rider can say that. She put everything she had in on the day for that time-trial and it just wasn’t good enough on the day. I think the course around Valkenburg will suit her a lot better than London. She is still our best time-trialist.”

Wendy Houvenaghel - whose victories include the Chrono Champenois time trial in France and British Time Trial Championship this year, will join Pooley on the 24.3km course from Eijsden/Margraten – Valkenburg.

For Great Britain, the competition begins on Monday with the junior men and under 23 men's time-trials.

There will be live text commentary, reports and reaction throughout the UCI Road World Championships on the British Cycling website.