Lizzie Armitstead has said it was “a goose-pimple moment” to line up as world champion in her home town of Otley for the Tour de Yorkshire women’s race.
Although the 27 year-old didn’t win the race – that honour and the £15,000 prize for first place went to Dutchwoman Kirsten Wild (Hitec-Products) after a bunch sprint in Doncaster – Armitstead spoke of the joy of racing on her home roads in the rainbow jersey.
“The start was brilliant, I loved the start. I had a couple of bike problems early in the race, so that wasn’t ideal, but it was a goose-pimple moment to be able to be supported by my community,” she said. “The cycling community is just massive now in Yorkshire and I just felt really proud.”
Armitstead enlivened the race with an attack just after the short climb of Conisbrough Castle with 36km however her three-strong group was reeled in with less than five kilometres to go. her teammate for Great Britain Alice Barnes sprinted to fourth on the line.
“It was worth just giving it a go,” she said. “I wouldn’t have bet on me in the sprint so I thought, let’s just make it an interesting race.”
“When I saw it [the gap] go from a minute down to 30 seconds very quickly I knew it was over, and then I was a case of dragging them out behind, hoping one of our girls would be sheltered and having an easy ride to the finish.”
Watch: Highlights of the 2016 Women’s Tour de Yorkshire
Despite technical issues with a broadcast aircraft meaning no live coverage of the race could be shown, Armitstead added that she hoped the event would prove to be a springboard for a bigger and better things.
“You mean you didn’t see my attack?” she said when told of the lack of TV pictures.
“The people on the streets saw us at least and hopefully we can have inspired some of those girls and boys on the side of the road. It was brilliant, incredible, every corner was covered, people were shouting, so I’m very proud of everyone coming out and watching.
“In terms of organisation and crowd, there’s nothing similar on the calendar, and now we’ve had the inaugural stage I think next year the best women’s teams in the world will come and it will just grow and grow. Maybe next year I’d train a bit more specifically for it once I’ve got the Olympics out of the way.”