Spat between British cycling pair is over

COMMONWEALTH Games silver medallist and Olympic favourite Lizzie Armitsead insists there is no rift between herself and team-mate Nicole Cooke as the battle to lead Great Britain’s road race heats up.

The 22-year-old did not hold back in criticising Cooke after last year’s road cycling World Championships but insists their public spat has ended and there will be no grudge match.

Armitstead was seventh in Copenhagen after crashing while Cooke, the 2008 world and Olympic champion, came fourth but the former later confronted her Welsh team-mate and publicly accused her of “riding for herself”.

The duo both want to lead the British team at the London Olympics and while Armitstead’s comments helped add fuel to the fire, she insists she has no regrets with what she said.

“I’m still relatively new to cycling and fairly inexperienced with the media and if someone asks me a question, when I’m feeling emotional and angry about something, then I’m going to give a response off the cuff,” she said.

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“It’s something I’ve learned from - that things do get blown out of proportion - but I stand by what I said and I’m happy I said it because it has brought the issue out and I think we’ll be a better team for it.”

Armitstead said the pair can maintain a working relationship but said the pair would never be firm friends.

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“We’ve had a conversation and it’s behind us,” she said.

“I’m sure the media would love us to have a grudge match all the way until the Games but it’s just not the way it is.”

Meanwhile, Armitstead has pledged to be a team player and forfeit personal glory for the good of the team by riding in support of team-mate Emma Pooley at the World Championships in September.

“The World Championships are not my main focus to be honest because they are in Holland and they finish on the top of a very steep climb, which suits Emma Pooley perfectly,” she explained.

“I want to be the leader at the Olympics on the London course because I believe it is perfectly suited to me and I think the Worlds course is perfectly suited to Emma, so without a doubt I’ll be working for Emma there.

“I’m totally confident that Emma is a team player, and I am as well.

“I would definitely work with someone if they had a better chance than me and I think on that course, Emma will do.”

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