Lizzie Armitstead rode the best 15km of her life on her way to victory in the 2015 World Championships in Richmond, but her rainbow jersey win was set up with a skillful bunny hop to avoid a rogue water bottle in the feedzone early on in the race.
Visible on television footage, riders cluster together in the narrow road, team soigneurs lean out precariously to equip their riders with fresh drinks. As a bottle rolls around on the floor, Armitstead deftly hops up and over the obstacle. Blink and you’ll miss it.
Armitstead explained after the race that she didn’t know much about the incident, however her instinctive response shows the extraordinary handling and lighting fast reactions of a professional cyclist, and a world champion one at that.
“I think I’m more proud of that than the title!” she joked. “Was it over a water bottle? It wasn’t a great bunny hop, it might have looked like it from the aerial [shot], but I only got one wheel off the ground.”
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Luck was clearly on Armitstead’s side in Richmond; she avoided any punctures or mechanical mishaps during the 129.8km race, despite a total of 16 cobbled climbs over the eight laps.
The back to back winner of the Women’s World Cup added that she used all her experience in one day racing to ensure she was in the ideal position inside the crucial finale of the race.
“I was getting quite frustrated by the racing, but I think that was because I had good legs and the peloton was getting smaller and smaller each lap,” she said.
“I knew that the course was quite demanding and the last five kilometres was challenging and it was all about positioning, and I guess that’s something that helped me out today.”