Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans Cycling) has won the Aviva Women’s Tour overall in Kettering today with her teammates controlling the race from start to finish.
The victory is Armitstead’s seventh this season. It is the 24th road win of the year for Boels-Dolmans and the Dutch squad’s 11th win at the UCI Women’s WorldTour, including six one-day races, three stages and two general classifications.
“This time last year I was in bed watching it,” said Armitstead. “It’s nice to put bad memories to bed. It’s been a really good and valuable experience all week. The biggest thing I’ve taken away from it is how strong of a team we are, how much of a unit we are. If we put our minds to it, we really can achieve results with anyone on the team, and I’m very proud of everybody for that.”
In the end Armitstead’s winning margin was 11-seconds over Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, courtesy of three bonus seconds picked up at the day’s opening Chain Reaction Cycle sprint, with Wiggle HIGH5 rider Elisa Longo Borghini a further two seconds in arrears.
Armitstead also clinched the Adnams Best British Rider Jersey as the highest placed Brit, with a 53-second advantage over 2012 Olympic Gold medallist Dani King.
The victory will also move Armitstead up to second in the standings of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, behind her teammate Megan Guarnier.
“The tactic was that I was going to win the first bonus sprint,” Armitstead explained. “Then I would have three seconds, and we were effectively safe from Marianne’s threat. We did that perfectly. It was a perfect lead-out. Chantal [Blaak] even took two seconds behind me. I think she almost had to break to let me pass her. She’s phenomenally fast.”
“I was delighted that we had done that,” Armitstead added. “Then it was just a case of letting people go up the road and controlling it so that anyone on the GC was within a minute.”
“It was a hard day but probably one of the easier days of the tour compared to the previous stages,” said Armitstead. “We could control it and bring it to a sprint, which was what we wanted.”
A day long breakaway of seven riders contested the finish, as the Boels Dolmans led bunch just misjudged their catch, coming into Kettering 15-seconds behind the group, which Lotta Lepistö led home.
“The main thing I wanted to take away from this is that my climbing legs are good,” said Armitstead. “On the previous two stages, I found out they were. I’m very happy.”
With the general classification win, Armitstead because the first British rider to win the Aviva Women’s Tour.
“Being a British athlete, a British cyclist, I’m very lucky to be from a country that loves cycling at the moment,” Armitstead said. “I hope that continues. It fills me with pride to see families and kids and everybody screaming as we’ve passed. Everyone is really enthusiastic. They’ve really gotten behind it.”
“My teammates ask me: ‘Lizzie, why is it so popular here?’ and I don’t really know the answer,” Armitstead added. “But events like this certainly help keep the ball rolling.”