The much-publicised row between Great Britain cyclists Lizzie Armitstead and Nicole Cooke has dominated much of the UK cycling press over the last couple of days. Earlier this week Armitstead revealed to Cycling Weekly that she blames Cooke for Team GB's failure to win a medal at the women's road race world championship in Copenhagen in September, accusing her colleague of "riding for herself and never working for a teammate" after Cooke finished in fourth place and Armitstead in seventh. Now multiple Olympic and World Championship gold medallist Victoria Pendleton and Team GB supremo David Brailsford have voiced their opinions on the matter.
Pendleton, who won gold in the track sprint at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is a winner of eight Track World Championship golds, told the Daily Mirror that the rivalry between the two British women could work in their favour at the London 2012 Olympics.
"Even if you can't be best friends, that doesn't mean you can't be teammates," she said. "The fact we have two girls jostling to lead the road race squad is a healthy sign and rivalry can be a good thing if they push each other on and it increases our chance of winning a gold medal. It must be really hard to decide who should be the leader of the pack that day. Nicole has the history, Lizzie has the current form. Do you go with experience or youth? Ultimately the fastest girl will get the nod. I don't know much about the situation involving Lizzie and Nicole, but I'm sure Dave Brailsford [British Performance Director] will sort it out."
When quizzed by the Daily Telegraph, Brailsford confirmed that the situation between the two would be sorted out so that crucial preparations for London 2012 can move on.
"It's up to us to manage the situation, which we will, but behind closed doors," he said. "We are a straight-talking group and everything that needs saying has been said in the back of the team bus or the proper debrief. I'm relaxed about it. I don't mind the individuals having their say. I love to see fire in the belly and that determination to be winners. That's where Olympic gold medals come from."