Lizzie Armitstead finished in 11th place at the Sparkassen Giro today, extending her World Cup lead with the final three races approaching. The Commonwealth champion goes into the remaining events of the series with a clear lead over her nearest rivals.
The race was won by Barbara Guarischi (Velocio-SRAM), taking her second win in 24 hours, after success in the Prudential Ride London GP last night. The race consisted of eight laps of a largely urban 15-kilometre circuit around the North German city of Bochum, near Dortmund.
Despite a short, sharp climb half way round the lap, the final six kilometres were mainly downhill, causing the peloton to re-form each time, setting up the bunch sprint.
The race went largely to plan for Armitstead, whose Boels-Dolmans team began the race intending to defend her leader’s jersey.
“The race went pretty much as we expected really,” 26-year-old Armitstead told Cycling Weekly. “It was defensive racing which ended in a bunch sprint. I was quite happy to come away without crashing. I think we defended the title with some ease.”
Armitstead won last year’s World Cup by a good margin, and a second success would make her the first British rider to defend the title in the competition’s 18-year history. Whilst she only scored 20 points, none of her main rivals for the World Cup managed to score, though Belgian champion, Jolien D’hoore’s (Wiggle-Honda) eighth place moved her into fourth position, some 80 points behind Armitstead.
Sweden hosts the next two races in the World Cup, the first being a team time trial. Armitstead’s Dutch team have had their hopes of victory dented by the absence of former World time trial champion Ellen van Dijk.
The Dutch woman broke her collar bone in one the many crashes at La Course in Paris last week, though she should be fit for the World Championships, a target for the team, in Richmond, USA at the end of September.
Despite her World Cup lead, last year’s winner is not specifically targeting a second win. “Genuinely, it’s still just a bonus at the moment. I go to every race hoping to maintain it yeah, but it’s not the be all and end all. I do feel like other people want it more than I do.”
Two days after the Swedish team time trial the same venue hosts a road race, the ninth World Cup round. The competition concludes in at the GP Plouay in Brittany, France on August 29.
Video: Lizzie Armitstead targeting World Championships success