Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead is aiming to win more than the gold medal in the women’s elite road race at the Cycling World Championships in Florence on Saturday.
Armitstead has been consistently vocal about the lack of support for women’s cycling and she hopes that victory in the road race will force the sport’s detractors to take their concerns seriously.
Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Tour of Britain last week before flying to Florence to prepare for the time-trial on Wednesday. By contrast, Armitstead’s teammate Emma Pooley decided against heading to Florence in order to continue work on her PhD.
“Teams like Sky or any ProTour teams are putting in over €10m: it would take about €500,000 to run a women’s team. That would allow more women to be full-time professionals,” Armitstead told The Observer.
The World Championships have the same prize money, accommodation and road closure for men and women.
“It’s refreshing to hear someone talk like that,” added Armitstead.
“If there is a women’s Tour of Britain next season I would base half my year around trying to win it.”
Closer to home however is this Sunday’s race. Armitstead has only a small team support, but it includes Katie Colclough, who was part of the victorious Specialized-Lululemon squad in last weekend’s women’s team-trials while Armitstead’s biggest challenge comes in the shape of Dutchwoman Marianne Vos.
Armitstead overtook Vos to claim silver in the London Olympics and although Vos is the reigning world champion this has not deterred Armitstead.
“I have to be a leader now. It’s changed me but I’m OK with that. I trust myself, the way I prepare. I feel like I know what I’m doing.”
Image courtesy of Peter Trimming via WikiMediaCommons, with thanks.