Lizzie Armitstead had a magnificent 2015, winning the Tour of Qatar, coming second in the inaugural women’s Strade Bianche, followed by third in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and victories in Trofeo Alfredo Binda and the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic.
But her win at GP de Plouay Bretagne to secure the Women’s Road World Cup was particularly impressive.
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Having lost the World Cup lead to Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) – winner of La Course and La Giro Rosa – at Crescent Vårgårda the previous week, after a late crash forced her to take evasive action, Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) trailed the Dutch rider by 21 points.
Armitstead knew going into the race that she needed to win and see van der Breggen finish third or lower to take defend her World Cup crown and, with the Rabobank-Liv rider in the lead group of nine that that approached the finish, the Yorkshire-born rider must have wondered if she would be able to snatch the title.
But snatch it she did, with a perfectly-timed sprint to leave Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabobank-Liv) in her wake and, with van der Breggen finishing in sixth, sealing what may be the final Women’s World Cup title in dramatic fashion.