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Lizzie Armitstead second in National Road Race Championships
3:40pm Sunday 24th June 2012 in Sport
Otley’s Lizzie Armitstead said she felt “horrendous from start to finish” but declared herself happy with second place at the British Road Race Championships in Ampleforth.
Sharon Laws put the disappointment of failing to make Britain’s London 2012 team to one side to claim a solo success on the undulating 107-kilometre course through North Yorkshire.
Armitstead and Emma Pooley, the 2011 and 2010 champions respectively, completed a clean sweep of the podium for AA drink leontien.nl but were more than one and a half minutes behind Laws, who attacked on the penultimate of seven laps of a 15km route.
Armitstead and Pooley are set to ride in the July 29 road race, which finishes on The Mall, with Olympic champion Nicole Cooke and Lucy Martin also selected and Laws and Katie Colclough cut as the squad was reduced to four.
Cooke (Faren-Honda) was sixth, more than nine minutes behind Laws, and Martin (AA drink leontien.nl) did not finish on a course which was far removed from the Olympic circuit.
Armitstead paid tribute to Laws, so often her loyal team-mate.
The Otley ace, who is likely to lead the British Olympic team, said: “She’s a deserved winner. I felt horrendous from start to finish. It’s part of the training at the moment.
“But this was a team effort, and it’s great to get the 1-2-3. Our plan was to have one of our team win the event, and we’ve achieved that so I’m really happy.
“I’m delighted for Sharon to get the win. She attacked really strongly and that proved enough to win the title.”
Laws – who was in the British team when Cooke triumphed in Beijing in 2008 – said: “I just wanted to prove something.
“I just think I’m one of the strongest riders and I wanted to show that.”
Laws was a late comer to the sport, first riding professionally in 2008, and was frustrated to miss the opportunity to ride in a home Games. She has no further margin for appeal.
She added: “I understand why the decision has been made but I still think I could play a really good role in the race. I think I’m worthy of a place on the team.”
While the victory was tinged with disappointment, Laws was delighted to win the right to wear the British champion’s white jersey with blue and red band for the next 12 months, just reward for her aggressive approach on the road.
“I never thought I’d get it so it’s a really special occasion for me,” she added.