Uneasy situation as duo vye to be leader in road race

BRITISH cycling are confident they can temper the row that is threatening to overshadow Great Britain’s women in the Olympic road race, in London, next year.

Olympic champion Nicole Cooke and Lizzie Armistead are both vying for the role as leader in next year’s race - the role world champion Mark Cavendish will have in the men’s squad when he rides for gold on the opening day of the Games.

Armistead hopes she will get the nod after being the nominated leader for September’s World Championships in Denmark. There, she finished seventh after being held up in a late crash while Cooke finished fourth.

Armistead remains frustrated by that incident claiming that Cooke rode “for herself”, adding “I’ve never seen her work for a team-mate.”

Cooke insisted she obeyed tactical instructions, only going it alone after believing Armitstead’s chances to have gone and British Cycling performance manager Shane Sutton is anxious to resolve the issue.

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He anticipates the 140-kilometre road race will finish on The Mall in a bunch sprint.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to deal with this one,” said Sutton.

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“For my money it will come down to a gallop and at this moment in time Lizzie’s our big hope.

“And I do believe they have the capability of doing it (performing as a team and winning).”

Cooke remains in contention to become leader and Sutton believes Britain’s hand will be strengthened by having a number of riders on the team capable of winning.

However, he talked up Armistead’s chances adding: “There’s no question in my mind that the fastest girl in GB at the moment is Lizzie by a long shot.

“I think Lizzie’s ready to step up, given her results.

“She’s capable of winning and she’s probably our best chance, at this moment in time, of retaining the Olympic women’s road race.”

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