Lizzie Armitstead admitted she had faith in her climbing ability after she used it to solo to a third British Road Race title in five years in Lincoln this afternoon.
Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) launched her race-winning attack on the fourth of five ascents of the famed Michaelgate climb, and crossed the line nearly two minutes ahead of surprise runner-up Alice Barnes (Betch.nl-Superior Brentjens).
Despite crashing heavily during the opening stage of the Women’s Tour just 11 days ago, the Yorkshirewoman said she had little doubt that she could use her climbing prowess to propel her to victory.
“I pushed most times up on the climb to test the legs of the people behind, and I knew if I really went for it I could drop them,” she said. “So I went for it.
“I knew I could put 30 seconds into them over the climb, and once you’ve got that daylight between you, it makes things much easier.”
Nonetheless, the 26-year-old said that her legs didn’t feel too good in the opening part of the race; potentially the effect of her much publicised crash in Aldeburgh.
She added: “I didn’t feel too good at the start. I was doubting myself. It’s difficult to come in unraced, and the Women’s Tour riders have five days’ racing in their legs.
“But the longer the race went on, the better I started to feel.”
Barnes – best known for her achievements in off-road disciplines – impressed as she took the under-23 jersey in addition to the elite race silver.
“You can’t be disappointed when Lizzie just rides away from you,” she said. “A podium wasn’t expected, though!”