Armitstead back to form in Belgium

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Armitstead back to form in Belgium

Lizzie Armitstead declared herself pleased with seventh in last weekend's GP Stad Roeselare (April 24), having only just returned to racing.

The Garmin-Cervélo rider has missed most the spring campaign this year after suffering a side strain that also ruled her out of the track world championships.

HTC-Highroad's Amber Neben soloed to her first victory in 2011 and while Armitstead contested the bunch sprint for second, the returning Brit didn't quite have the legs to finish on the podium.

"I was pretty happy with the result. It's nice to comeback and immediately feel strong as sometimes you spend a whole day hanging on to the back of the peloton," she told Cycling Weekly, before admitting it may take her some time to refamiliarise herself with road racing.

"Having focused on the track for most of the year so far, it takes time to adjust to the road again, so these first few races for me will be a learning curve.

"I tried forcing the issue a few times as the team didn't want to take it to a bunch sprint, but perhaps I used up too much energy doing that."

Armitstead added: "Maybe I need to bide my time a bit more in the races, and perhaps be a bit lazier too.

Lizzie Armitstead and Adam Blythe, Dave Rayner Dinner 2010

Armitstead with boyfriend and Omega Pharma-Lotto professional Adam Blythe

Endura take Tour of Brittany stage win

Endura rider Rene Mandri won the second stage of the Tour of Brittany from a breakaway on Tuesday afternoon.

He outsprinted Evaldas Siskevicius (VC La Pomme) and Peter Kusztor (Atlas-Personal) from the remnants of their breakaway.

The Estonian, a former A2gr-La Mondiale rider, is one of several Europeans to come from the top rung of the sport to Endura this season.

The ambitious Endura team's hot streak continues: that makes it five wins in the continent in the last four weeks.

Yesterday, Mandri finished behind a split in the bunch to fall to second overall. Despite a crash in today's fourth stage, he chased back on to maintain his position behind Kusztor, eight seconds down.

Moreover, Academy talent Andy Fenn, riding with the Great Britain team, finished second on the opening road stage on Monday.

Burton puts the hurt on at Palace

Germain Burton showed the kind of riding that's acquired him his reputation as a super-talent when he attacked late to take the opening round of the Crystal Palace summer criterium series on Tuesday.

The De Ver youngster, who is the reigning youth circuit race national champion, soloed away on the final lap, denying Elite Racing sprinter - and Cycling Weekly staffer - Symon Lewis victory.

The result came several days after 16-year-old Burton rode his first ever ‘25', clocking a rapid 54-55 to finish fifth in the Addiscombe CC-supported event.

Rounding out a good evening for the magazine, occasional CW writer Jo McRae (Look Mum No Hands!) took the women's race.

UPDATE: The second round of racing at Crystal Palace on May 3 has been cancelled after a fire destroyed all the race equipment.

DoonHame route doesn't need to get any tougher

Tour DoonHame organiser Ian Sinclair has declared that he thinks the 2011 Tour DoonHame route doesn't need to get any harder, and revealed that he hopes to take the Tour further afield next year. 

Talking to Cycling Weekly after the end of the event, he said "I think we've got it about right [with the difficulty of the race]. The riders say that they really like this kind of rolling racing, and I think it makes for some really good racing. Seeing ninety-odd riders storm into Castle Douglas today for a sprint finish was an amazing sight." 

The inaugural Tour DoonHame was criticized as being too easy, especially in comparison to its predecessor, the Girvan. And this year the course failed to split up the peloton on two out of three of the stages.  

Mr. Sinclair also said that he hopes to take the race into neighbouring counties next year - the race has been held in Dumfries and Galloway only for its first two editions -, stating that "I've got something up my sleeve for next year."

Brits Abroad: Tomas Swift-Metcalfe

Team: Tavira-Prio

Country: Portugal

My family was moving to Portugal and I stumbled across cycling. In summer 2005, I was a member of the British duathlon squad and wanted to do bike races for training - and found I enjoyed it much more than running.

This is my fourth year with UCI Continental team Tavira. I've been moulded into a domestique role, and I do it very well, though a few more personal opportunities would be nice. I like the team dynamic; we train together at least two or three times a week, which is different to other squads.

I've performed consistently well this year.

In the Portuguese season opener, the Trofeo RDP, I made it into the break, dropped back to help my leader and still finished fifteenth. That was my best physical, most self-sacrificng performance. The Tour of Algarve was good too, as we defended the mountains classification against all the big teams.

As for racing against Contador and company there? It doesn't bother me, I just treat them as normal human beings.

Cycling's not everything for me though. If a better opportunity comes up in another field, I might take it. It's precarious too. I'm currently studying sports science to keep up to date with the field.

This article originally appeared in the April 21 issue of Cycling Weekly.

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