Team strength a key factor for Lizzie Armitstead at Friends Life Women's Tour

Reigning British road race champion believes her Boels-Dolmans team, and not home advantage, will help her chances of success in inaugural edition of the race.

Lizzie Armiststead in 2014 World Cup leader's jersey. Photo: Boels-Dolmans
(Image credit: Boels-Dolmans)

Lizzie Armitstead believes riding for a Dutch team, and not home advantage, could serve her well in the Friends Life Women's Tour, which begins this morning in Oundle.

The Yorkshire-born rider will race competitively on home roads for the first time since she won the British road race title in Glasgow last June.

She will be joined by five other Boels-Dolmans riders, including world team time trial champion Ellen van Dijk, in the five-day event.

And with there being a strong chance of inclement weather throughout, including the possibility of crosswinds during Friday's stage to Clacton-on-Sea, Armitstead believes her team-mates boost her changes of challenging for the overall win.

“Being a British rider on a Dutch team is an advantage, because the Dutch are notorious for riding in the wind,” she said.

“If the wind is a key factor, we're one of the strongest teams so we can use it to our advantage.

"But looking at the stages, it's difficult to tell without racing them how hard they will be."

The 25-year-old also spoke of her pride in wearing the national champion's jersey in the inaugural edition of the race.

She added: “It's an honour to be the British champion in Europe, because people recognise you for something.

“The stripes confuse people a little – they think I'm Dutch! It's a proud moment for me to wear the stripes in this race.”

The current World Cup leader goes into the event after pulling out of the weekend's Festival Luxembourgeois du Cyclisme Féminin Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg through illness.

Downplaying this, she said: “I'm in good shape. It [her DNF in the race] wasn't anything really serious. It was just precautionary. I thought I'd rather do well in Britain than in Luxembourg."

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Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.