Great Britain women’s road coach Chris Newton has said that 2012 should be Lizzie Armitstead‘s best season yet.
Armitstead is one of six riders vying for four places on Britain’s women’s Olympic road race team in July. Last weekend she won the inaugural women’s Ghent-Wevelgem, and is obviously on great form going into Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.
“It’s a combination – there’s the age element and experience and it’s the Olympic Games in the back garden, all of those put together could make a fantastic year,” Newton told British Cycling.
“But it’s a case that if one doesn’t happen it’s not necessarily a failure. Results are hard to come by but having results already it’s already a successful year but could be the best one ever to date because there is so much to come as well.”
Armitstead is one of five Olympic team hopefuls in action at the Tour of Flanders. Her AA Drink-leontien.nl team-mates Emma Pooley, Lucy Martin and Sharon Laws will also ride, as will reigning Olympic road race champion Nicole Cooke, for the Faren Honda team.
The remaining shortlisted rider – Katie Colclough – will not ride Flanders.
Although the British women will be riding Flanders with their trade teams, Newton will be in attendance to observe how the race pans out and with one eye on Olympic selection.
“I’m out there at Tour of Flanders this weekend to oversee the race and get a bit more insight to them and to see how things are going,” said Newton. “Technically, tactically, on form, see how races are going and how riders are contributing to that – whether they are forcing it, reacting to it.”
One big question that remains to be answered is who will be Great Britain’s team leader in the Olympic Games – Lizzie Armitstead or defending Olympic champion Nicole Cooke?