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“This is a landmark moment in the history of British Cycling,” said Howden. “Lizzie represents the best of our great sport and deserves all the praise coming her way.”
Armitstead is the fourth British woman to be crowned world champion, following in the footsteps of Beryl Burton, Mandy Jones and Nicole Cooke.
Howden added: “I am very proud to have been there to see it in person, and in the company of Johnny Clay, now cycle sport and membership director at British Cycling, who spotted Lizzie’s potential when she was still at school in Otley.”
The win was all the more surprising for the fact that, with one lap of the course to go, Armitstead looked virtually out of contention. A nine-rider break led the peloton by 40 seconds, and there appeared little appetite to chase them down with most major nations — but not Great Britain — represented in the leading group.
However the Dutch team did organise a chase, apparently lacking confidence in Amy Pieters’s ability to win a sprint. When the break was caught, Armitstead was able to take advantage and win a sprint for the line.
Howden said: “Lizzie’s coolness under pressure in the final kilometre is the hallmark of all great champions of cycling. She was the pride of Yorkshire and Great Britain already — now she’s the best in the world.”