Olympic Stories

Lizzie Armitstead - Cycling

Lizzie Armitstead - Cycling

Born on December 18, 1988 in Otley, England, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Mary Armitstead is a talented young British cyclist who is widely regarded as the future of British cycling. Although Lizzie is still very young and, in many ways, very green for a cyclist, she is still a very accomplished athlete and will represent Team GB in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London in a brand new event – the Omnium.

Best described as the heptathlon of cycling, the Omnium consists of a three kilometer ride, a 500 meter timed trail, a flying lap, a 20km points race, a 10km scratch race, and after athletes endure that brutal bombardment of cycling, there will finally be an elimination race, wherein the final cyclist to cross the finish after every lap will be removed until three remain. After that, the cyclists will then sprint two remaining laps. Needless to say, this is a grueling event and one that is sure to stick in the Olympic canon.

Sporting Career

Lizzie Armitstead has always had a passion for cycling. Although she never really planned on cycling competitively while she was a young girl, she states that she can recall receiving her first bike at a very young age and avidly riding it. In a plot twist that every teacher wishes upon their students, Lizzie had a proverbial “career day” moment in school, when the British Cycling Olympic Talent Team paid a visit to Prince Henry’s Grammar School in 2004. Armitstead decided at that moment to become a professional cyclist.

Naturally gifted and in incredible shape for someone who hadn’t trained for years on end like most athletes, Lizzie took to cycling like a fish in water. Only a year after deciding to become a cyclist, Armitstead took home the silver in the Junior World Track Championships’ Scratch Race. By 2007, Lizzie was the U23 European Scratch Race Champion – a feat she would immediately repeat in 2008.

If anyone questions why Lizzie is considered the future of British cycling, it is undoubtedly due to her astonishing talent. Many cyclists Lizzie’s age have already been training for a decade to compete, and she continuously gets the better of them in every competition. Her natural gifts are undeniable.

Armitstead is also a team player, not just an individual cyclist. At the 2009 Track World Championships, Lizzie was part of the gold medal-winning team. This was only her second appearance at a senior world event. Many believe she may have won the gold in the individual scratch race, too, had she not crashed her bike during the race. Although she got back on as quickly as she could, the damage had been done.

Lizzie has continued to race well for the past few years, and now that the Olympics are to include the new Omnium event, Armitstead is the natural choice to represent Great Britain in a quest for gold.

Career Highlights

  • 2005 UCI Track Cycling World Championships – Silver
  • 2005 British National Track Championships – Gold
  • 2006 British National Circuit Race Championships - Gold
  • 2006 WCRA Criterium Championships – Gold
  • 2007 European Track Championships: U23 – Gold
  • 2008 European Track Championships: U23 – Gold
  • 2009 Track World Cup – Gold
  • 2012 Summer Olympics Road Race – Silver

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