Video: Olympic cyclist Lizzie Armitstead puts Otley schoolkids through their paces

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An Olympic road race contender she might be, but Lizzie Armitstead is hopeless at Velodrome Scalextric.

Nine-year-olds were getting the better of her today on her first return to Whartons Primary School in Otley, where her education began.

Cyclist Lizzie Armitstead goes back to her old school, The Whartons Primary in Otley

Cyclist Lizzie Armitstead goes back to her old school, The Whartons Primary in Otley

On the very first corner of the Hornby toy set that she attempted, Armitstead sent her figure crashing over the hoardings and off the edge of the table.

Not that Seb Coe and the London organisers are thinking of livening up the real thing with such drastic measures.

Nor, for that matter, should there be any reason for British cycling chief Dave Brailsford to be concerned that the 23-year-old’s training regime is going off the rails.

It is, however, going off the track, following Armitstead’s decision to concentrate all her efforts in 2012 on the Olympic road race.

A former world champion in the team pursuit and a multiple winner of World Cup medals in the major velodromes of the planet is a reputation to strike fear into the most decorated of track cyclists, but it is in road racing where Armitstead’s heart lies.

She learnt the fine art in her mid-teens, on the picturesque country roads of West and North Yorkshire.

The ruthless sprint finishing ability that earned her a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, and seventh place at the world championships last year, was developed on the roads of Europe for the professional teams she has represented over the past four years. And it is on the roads of London where she hopes to complete that story this summer.

If she was playfully begrudging today as primary school pupils whizzed past her on Scalextric, Armitstead is single-minded, determined and fearless when it comes to her career.

A public disagreement with Beijing Olympic road race champion and her British team-mate Nicole Cooke has threatened to overshadow the build-up to the most important year of her life, but today she was keen to put the matter to bed.

Armitstead’s seventh-place finish at the world championships in Copenhagen did not fill her with the pride and hope it perhaps should have done.

The fact that she had crashed earlier in the race, and that Cooke went on to finish fourth, angered the passionate Yorkshirewoman who confronted her Welsh team-mate and publicly accused her of “riding for herself”.

• More in Wednesday’s Yorkshire Post