Streets of London have to be paved with gold

Great Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead cannot wait to race the streets of London this summer but would not be satisfied with her performance unless she won gold.

The 23-year-old is one of six riders vying for Team GB’s four places on the women’s Olympic road race team with the Games edging ever closer.

Armitstead, who is brand ambassador for London 2012 official product supplier Hornby, is tipped to be selected and is excited by the prospect of racing around the capital.

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“I think racing down the finish on the Mall will be incredible and I can’t imagine what the atmosphere is going to be like,” said the Otley cyclist.

“I have done World Championships with massive crowds but never a massive British crowd so I think it is going to be something special.

“I think the course is going to suit me as I am kind of an all-rounder. I have got a good sprint but my sprint is best when the other sprinters are tired. I won’t be as fatigued from Box Hill as perhaps some of the out-and-out sprinters will be so I think it suits me pretty well.

“Every day does count between now and then and I am trying to make it count. I want to do myself justice. Finishing 10th may feel fantastic if it was a ridiculously hard race and I am just not on the level.

“But at this moment in time, I would not be happy unless I won the race.”

With selection all-but assured for the team, the only question that remains is as to whether Armitstead or defending Olympic champion Nicole Cooke will be Great Britain’s team leader.

The pair’s relationship is also under the spotlight after Armitstead publicly criticised her team-mate for “riding for herself” at the Road Cycling World Championships. Armitstead was the nominated team leader in Copenhagen, with Cooke a support rider.

Asked whether the issues were blown out of proportion, she said: “Yes, but it has been a learning curve for me. Literally in one interview I said something about how I didn’t feel Copenhagen went to plan, but that was one race.

“We have raced together so many times and we will do so many more times in the future. I have learned from it and I think we are a stronger team for it.”

Armitstead may regret those comments but insists she has no such feelings when it comes to her decision to focus solely on the road race at London 2012, despite GB women’s pursuit team winning gold at last week’s Track Cycling World Championships.