Lizzie Armitstead’s 2015 season was truly fantastic, with an early-season victory at the Tour of Qatar followed up by wins at Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic and GP de Plouay-Bretagne en route to the Road World Cup, taking the British road race title on the way.
But she capped it all off with the UCI World Championships road race title in Richmond in September to make sure she will be wearing the rainbow stripes next year, in what may be her final season.
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Armitstead’s win was all the more impressive for the undesirable position she found herself in during the final kilometres of the race. Having to lead out the bunch sprint on the finishing straight, the British rider held her nerve and slowed the pace down, waiting for someone else to make the first move.
When Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) attacked a few hundred metres from the finish line, Armitstead immediately responded to by latching on to her wheel, and just about managed to pass her before the finish line to win by half a bike length.
Armitstead becomes only the fourth British woman to wear the rainbow jersey, after Beryl Burton (1960 and 1967), Mandy Jones (1982) and Nicole Cooke (2008), with a win that British Cycling described as ‘a landmark moment in our history’.