“It’s going to be back home in Otley,” says the proud daughter of Yorkshire.
On the eve of the 2016 Olympic Games, the biggest moment of her life, Lizzie Armitstead’s career was thrown into turmoil.
Armitstead won Great Britain’s first medal of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, securing silver behind Marianne Vos on the first day of competition. “I didn’t really know what she was doing in 2012,” Armitstead says. But if winning was a habit last year, it’s become standard fare in 2016 – Armitstead has been dominant since pulling on the rainbow jersey in Richmond.
That was a race which Armitstead left with not only a gold medal hanging around her neck, but the confidence to dictate a race.
After being cleared to ride the Games at the final hour following a successful court appeal to overturn an alleged missed drugs test, the ensuing leak and backlash threatened to engulf her.
Now, for the first time, she tells her story, and reveals how she went from World Champion and darling of Team GB road cycling, to one of the most scrutinised athletes in British sport – how it happened, why it happened, and how Lizzie cleared her name and came out fighting.
While her appeal was upheld, it was hardly the perfect build up to a Games she had spent four years preparing for.
Given the distractions she did well to even be on the starting line of the women’s road race which wound 140km around some of Rio’s most spectacular scenery.
And her wedding to fellow professional cyclist Philip Deignan is just a few weeks away.
I’ve got a lot of silver medals but I was favourite going into Richmond and I delivered.” Armitstead subsequently came into 2016 with two goals: to win the women’s Tour of Flanders in April and the Olympic road race in August.
First came victories in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche (for the second successive year) and Trofeo Alfredo Binda, before she arrived in Flanders.
It might still, but her autobiography, Steadfast, which was delayed so she could write the crucial final chapters, is at least her chance to set the record straight.
Amitstead’s first missed test came during the UCI Women’s Road Race in the summer of 2015.“Getting it right on that one day and delivering what I said I wanted to, everything coming together under huge pressure and being able to perform was huge,” Armitstead tells Road Cycling UK. Rather than following other people and reacting, I was dictating the race and I’ve been able to do that this season as well.