Lizzie Armitstead capped off a fine week of racing at the Route de France with a stunning stage win but the Cervelo TestTeam star already has her sights set on her next set of objectives, as she builds up for the Commonwealth Games and world championships.
Armitstead won the final stage of the French stage race with a strong sprint finish but her form also won her the white jersey as the best young rider, as she finished every stage in the top ten. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Nederland Bloeit) won the overall classification in the seven day stage race.
“I was just riding consistently,” Armitstead told Cyclingnews. “It was a good race for me. It wasn’t too mountainous but there were a few hard days and the terrain suited me and the team, even if there were only four of us in the end. The last day just went well for me in the sprint.”
Armitstead’s season was based on two blocks of racing, the first starting in Qatar in February, before peaking for the track world championships and the UK road nationals. Two silvers on the track and one on the road were followed by a break in July. Now back to form, she will aim to peak again for the Commonwealth Games and World's where she’ll compete in the road race in both events.
Despite her recent win, she isn’t getting too carried away with her current form.
“It all means I’m heading in the right direction. The start of the season was a learning curve for me and I played quite a lot of supporting roles and then had my break with the aim of building my form for the World's.”
“I don’t feel particularly fast at the moment even though the results suggest that I am. The feelings aren’t top form and there’s still a way to go. I’ve never got it right at the World's before but we’ll see how it goes.”
Her season won’t stop there. After the World's in September, Armitstead will have turn her attention back to the track where she’ll compete in the two rounds of the track world cup in order to secure a place in the 2012 Olympic Games. It will mean almost twelve months of constant racing for the 21-year-old.
“Because it’s the Olympics coming up I’ve got to do the European Championships and two rounds of the world cup so I won’t have a break until December. It’s a long time.”
Armitstead’s progress in the last few seasons has been impressive but it’s her steady development at Cervelo, where she’s balanced her track and road ambitions, that have really made her stand out.
“Last year I was in a smaller team so we were just following in races but this year I’ve been making a difference in races and that puts a different toll on your body. We’re a very aggressive team and our tactics are always to make the race hard. Sometimes it falls on us to do a lot of work but that can only develop us as riders."
Armitstead’s next race will be the GP de Plouay-Bretagne this weekend.
For full results, report and photos of the Rout de France, visit Cyclingnews.com.