Cycling: Armitstead targets Rio double

LIZZIE Armitstead, the first home medallist of London 2012, is keen to bid for a road and track double at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics of 2016.

The 24-year-old from Otley still reflects on the sprint in teeming rain down The Mall, when prolific champion Marianne Vos of Holland beat her to Olympic gold by a narrow margin. “I still think about the sprint, but I am also very happy with silver as well,” Armitstead said.

Armitstead had to choose between the velodrome and the road for London 2012. In Rio, there is the possibility she could do both, but there are a number of hurdles to overcome.

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The International Olympic Committee will in September decide whether to return the points race to the Olympic programme at the International Cycling Union’s request. If that happens, then the criteria must be decided and it may be that the points racer also has to compete in the team pursuit. The devotion required for the team discipline means it would be impossible to also ride in the road race.

Armitstead would like to explore the possibility of a points-road race double, though. “I’d love to be able to do it,” Armitstead said. “The girls on the track now are phenomenal riders and so specific.

“It’s difficult to step into that, but I do love points racing and I do think, if I was allowed to try to combine the road and the points race, I’d love to do it.”

Armitstead may get the chance to prove she can do both at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The Commonwealth Games, in which she won road race silver in Delhi in 2010, is in her mind this season, with the British Championships in Glasgow in June one of her targets.