14 November 2019

Sportsister meets Lizzie Armitstead

November 18, 2008

Lizzie Armitstead stole the show at the World Cup Classic in Manchester, winning three golds for Great Britain. She was part of the record breaking women’s squad which became the first team to win every World Cup women’s track event in a single race meeting. The nineteen year old revelation spoke to Sportsister at the event about her success and the future.

Congratulations on your results here, how do you feel?

It was a surprise to win so many medals as I always doubt myself! I’ve gained so much confidence from the World Road Championships and feel I’ve got much stronger since.

I knew I was capable of something here but I didn’t think it would be three golds!

I was really nervous before the team pursuit, as I knew after winning the points and scratch race I could make it three. I just really wanted it so badly; I still can’t believe that I’ve done it.

You’ve been plagued by injury this year, how does it feel to finally get results like this?

I hated being injured. I enjoy cycling and not being able to get up every day and do what I love was hard, I had so much motivation however I couldn’t do anything about it. But the physiotherapists I worked with were fantastic and helped me channel the motivation I had into getting better. I’m so happy I’ve won here as I know how much hard work I’ve put in.

Would you rate the Manchester World Cup as your best performance?

The points race at this World Cup was probably my best race because of everything I’ve been through this year to get here, I’m really proud of myself.

It’s actually the only Olympic bunch racing event for the women so that’s where I’ve got to be the most consistent to achieve a place for 2012.

Are you at the pinnacle of your fitness or is there more to come?

I think there’s more to come; I’m definitely on the upward curve. I’ve not had my end of season break and I don’t feel like I need one. I’ll take some time off at Christmas after the Melbourne World Cup.

Do you feel any pressure for Melbourne, as you’ll be wearing all three world cup leaders’ jerseys?

Yeah I feel the pressure; we’ll just see what girls are riding. We start racing a day after we arrive in Australia; I’ve never been to that side of the world so I don’t know how I’m going to handle jet lag. I’ll just have to try my best and hopefully I’ll be able to keep the jersey.

You are great at both the road and the track events, come 2012 what will you focus on?

Basically there are three spots for the track in the Olympics and it is extremely hard to get into.

Wendy (Houvenaghel) and Rebecca (Romero) are continuing and also Victoria (Pendleton) so that’s all three places fully booked. But I’m good at the road and the points race so we’ll just have to see what happens in four years time

What do you think about the limited amount of events for the women cyclists in the Olympics?

It’s a real disappointment; it’s shocking in this day the IOC allows it to happen. I don’t understand how they think it is acceptable that there’s not the same amount of events for the women. In athletics and most other sports they have an equal amount of events, so why not in cycling?

What would you say to other girls to encourage them to take up sport?

Cycling has literally changed my life. I did a test at my school for British Cycling, to see if I had any potential as a bike rider. If I hadn’t have done that I wouldn’t have travelled the world for free, met all these fantastic people and I wouldn’t feel the sense of achievement I do now.

I get a great enjoyment out of sport and gain confidence because of it.

Some girls don’t get the chance to do it as schools don’t always encourage girls to take part but luckily I had parents at home who encouraged me, so when British Cycling turned up I really wanted to try something new. Girls should have a go!

You’re going to be a role model for a lot of girls, how does that feel?

It’s a nice feeling. I had role models when I was growing up so hopefully I can inspire more girls to try to start cycling.

Kim Blythe, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Photo credit: Copyright: www.velodrome.org.uk

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