Cycling is well-established as one of the country’s most successful sports, and JANINE SELF writes that Britain’s newest world champion deserves additional recognition at The National Lottery-sponsored SJA British Sports Awards
Another title-collecting year, the most successful in the long and medal-laden career of Lizzie Armitstead, yet the enduring image of 2015 is her coming a cropper after winning the first leg of the women’s Tour of Britain.
Needless to say, Armitstead had just crossed the finishing line first, before her spectacular collision with photographers gathered to snap her moment of triumph in Suffolk.
Who knows how the competition would have panned out for Armitstead, but if what happened next is any guide, the odds are that she would have started her trophy haul there instead of the British road race championships a couple of weeks later.
As it wa,s a concussed Armitstead called time on the Aviva women’s tour in order to concentrate on the rest of her frantic summer.
She tweeted from her hospital bed: “I remember winning with the help of my team mates and then not much else but I’m OK, nothing broken, just very sore.”
Lying there, nursing bruised limbs, Armitstead might have been excused a few minutes of self-doubt, but the 26-year-old Yorkshirewoman is made of sterner stuff.
So a third national road race title was followed in August by a second World Cup triumph and then, in September, Lizzie the indefatigable won the road race world championship.
Here is an cyclist who has been around for a few years but who continues to raise the bar on her achievements and her expectations.
She is the current holder of world, Commonwealth, and national road race titles, not forgetting that World Cup triumph.
In 2007 Victoria Pendleton was voted Sportswoman of the Year by SJA members, and since then cyclists Nicole Cooke, Laura Trott and Rebecca James have been runners-up.
Armitstead’s 2015 golden haul suggests she fully deserves top billing at our 2015 awards lunch in December. And she has probably learned one valuable lesson too. Do not lose control while raising arms to celebrate.
- Sports journalist Janine Self is an SJA committee member and former deputy chair of the Association
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UPCOMING SJA EVENTS
Tue Dec 1: Young sports journalists’ networking drinks – Details to be announced