Help from van Dijk elevates Armitstead

Otley's Lizzie Armitstead.
Otley's Lizzie Armitstead.
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Lizzie Armitstead and Scott Thwaites continued their fine form with a victory and a podium finish in Holland on Saturday.

British champion Armitstead, 25, from Otley, won the UCI World Cup series opener, the Ronde van Drenthe.

Armitstead, the Olympic silver medallist, made the most of the absence of Marianne Vos of Holland, the London 2012 champion and winner of the race in each of the last three years, with a sprint to victory from 250 metres out.

“It was the plan to go on the final climb,” said Armitstead, who was supported by her Boels-Dolmans team-mate Ellen van Dijk.

“It wasn’t the plan to have the breakaway, but thankfully I had Ellen with me, she was incredible today.”

Holland’s Anna van der Breggen was two seconds behind in second, with Shelley Olds completing the podium.

Burley-in-Wharfedale’s Thwaites rode to yet another podium finish in the men’s race.

The 24-year-old Net-app Endura rider was second to Kenny Dehaes (Lotto–Belisol), and the result comes just a week after he finished third in the Three Days of West Flanders.

Thwaites, who will be looking to take his good form into the Classics, said: “I am happy with the result and my form, which I hope to consolidate for the bigger classics in two weeks.”

On his return to the London Olympic Velodrome, Huddersfield’s Ed Clancy won the flying lap in the colours of Rapha Condor JLT in the final round of the Revolution Series.

Squadra RT’s Alex Dalton outsprinted Chevin Cycles Trek’s Matthew Williams to take victory in the second event of the three-race York Sport Day at the Races series on Saturday.

The two riders attacked from the gun and quickly gained a significant lead which they held for the duration of the race.

It was clear long before the finish that it would be a head-to-head sprint decider and it was Dalton who edged Williams out with the line approaching. Ben Rowe of Zappis came third.

In time-trialling, Hessle rider Joel Wainman led a one-two for Team Swift in the Malton Wheelers 10.5-mile event at Sledmere. Simon Beldon also bagged a win for Team Swift, in the Scunthorpe Road Club 10 at Kirton Lindsey.