Armitstead takes World Cup lead in Philadelphia

Defending World Cup overall winner Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) took over the series lead by winning the Philadelphia round, but the British rider said she will not focus on going after her second overall victory.

"I already won the World Cup last season," Armitstead told Cyclingnews. "I've ticked that off my career and I'm happy with that. I don't want to chase it. It's been a different season this year, I've had ups and downs with injury, and I don't want to force my form all season long."

Armitstead said the team intended to work for Evelyn Stevens, twice a winner on the Philadelphia circuit, during the race, but after Stevens got lost in the scrum for position coming into the final climb, she took responsibility and sprinted to win the race.

Armitstead put in a commanding performance to take the victory over Wiggle Honda's Elisa Longo Borghini, and since the previous World Cup leader Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) and second placed Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla) were absent, she overtook them for the World Cup lead.

"That was a nice surprise," she said. "I'm proud to wear the jersey. It's a big deal, but I'm not chasing the overall. I don't want to have to have that pressure on my back. But we'll see how it goes."

It takes a rider who can be consistently good all season to win the World Cup, but Armitstead said she prefers to be more selective in which races she targets.

"It depends on what kind of rider you are and what your goals are. I'm frustratingly quite specific with my goals. There are only certain races that I'm passionate about winning. Being consistent is not something I'm that passionate about. I want to win the big ones. Richmond is top of the list. I've got the national championships, and it would be great to be back in the white jersey full time."

Armitstead visited Richmond on her way to Philadelphia, and said she liked the course for the road race. "There's a little too much flat in it. I'd have preferred some more hills on the back of the circuit as well. But it will be hard, it will be good. The British team have more of a sprint-based team, so it will be good."

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