Lizzie Armitstead ends retirement speculation with contract renewal

The world champion's Boels-Dolmans team announced a new two-year contract that will see Armitstead ride beyond the Olympic Games

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Lizzie Armitstead seems to have ended speculation about her future by signing a two-year contract extension at her current team Boels-Dolmans.

The news announced on the team website and states the new contract will take her through to the end of 2018, when the world champion will celebrate her 30th birthday.

Armitstead, who finished 26th at last weekend’s Tour de Yorkshire, which started in her home town of Otley, had previously refused to confirm her plans for the future in media interviews. A gold medal in this year’s Olympics would mean the world champion had achieved all her stated career goals, adding fuel to rumours that she would retire.

The reigning British and Commonwealth champion joined the Dutch team in 2013, when it was known as Dolmans-Boels, and throughout that time she has worked closely with team manager Danny Stam, who has also re-signed for the same period.

The announcement follows another earlier this year that both plant hire company Boels and landscaping company Dolmans, had extended their sponsorship until the end of 2018, with an option for two more years on top of that.

Regarded as one of the most professional in the women’s peloton, the Dutch team is riding high in 2016, with 15 victories so far from five different riders. Those wins include five of the six Women’s WorldTour events.

Watch: Lizzie Armitstead, Road to Rio

“In recent years our development has brought us together at a very high level,” said Armitstead in the statement.

“As a team we are always looking to win and sometimes a look or gesture is enough to know what is going to happen. In this environment I achieved my main sporting successes and I am happy to continue my career.

“We have a solid and professional organisation behind us, so we are able to maintain our high level of performance at current levels.”

Armitstead’s career and performances have been on an upward trajectory since the 2012 Olympics, where she finished second behind Marianne Vos, and her sights are set firmly on this year’s games in Rio, where gold is her target on a course she has described as brutal.

This season has seen her achieve one of her career goals by winning the Tour of Flanders, as well as three other one day races, but she will now concentrate on her climbing in a bid to become more competitive on the Rio course.

Were Armitstead to retire at the end of this contract, she could be missing out on a home world championships, with government money possibly available for a bid by Leeds to host the event in 2019.

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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.