British rider Lizzie Armitstead has revealed that she will be focussing solely on the road race at the London 2012 Olympics despite being a world champion (2009 team pursuit) and multiple medal winner on the track.
The 22-year-old’s hand has been forced by the new Olympic regulations, which mean that a nation’s omnium rider must come from the cyclists who take part in the team pursuit. The commitment required to do the latter event would make it almost impossible for any athlete to take on the road race too.
“Having seen the road course and the way in which the women’s endurance programme is progressing on the track, I don’t think it’s possible to do both,” she said. “Choosing has been difficult. You have to be completely committed to the team pursuit and in order to do that I’d have to give up the road. I had to choose between the two of them and I can’t commit to the team pursuit girls as much as I can commit to the road race because that’s what I am passionate about.”
Next summer Armitstead will be looking to put the huge disappointment of the 2011 World Road Race Championships behind her. She was part of the British team that was involved in a crash late on in Copenhagen and could only finish in seventh place. She will be hopeful that she and her teammates, including Nicole Cooke, can improve on their showing in Denmark and challenge for an Olympic medal.