“This year’s been very average. I suppose I can look at it and see that I am still consistently in the top ten in road races even when I feel like falling off the bike! I suppose it’s a good thing, but it’s not good for morale to keep training the same and not see the results for it.”
Lizzie Armitstead, speaking to RCUK after the 2013 season, revealed her burning desire to turn a string of top tens into something more. That the Yorkshirewoman was unhappy with a year including her second national title, a top-ten finish at La Route de France and a podium at the Boels Ladies Tour spoke volumes for her ambition.
But it’s one thing being hungry for success, and another thing entirely satisfying such an appetite – and yet Armitstead has gone from strength to strength since.
Now world champion, the 27-year-old checked off the first of her two big ambitions for the 2016 season with victory at the women’s Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
Armitstead outsprinted Emma Johansson to bag her fourth win since first pulling on the rainbow jersey, and her third on the new UCI Women’s WorldTour in five races so far this season.
Victory at the Ronde was her prime target for the spring, with success at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche and Trofeo Alfredo Binda all building up to it.