Lizzie Armitstead has delivered a double boost for the organisers of next month’s DM Keith Otley Cycle Races by agreeing to race against both the women and the men.
The current women’s World Cup leader will ride in both the Pinsent Mason Otley Women’s Grand Prix and less than an hour later after finishing she will contest the Chevin Cycles Men’s Classic race where one of the entrants is her brother Nick.
The news will delight her home-town fans who are expected to line the streets in record numbers on Wednesday, July 2 – just three days before the Tour de France starts in Leeds.
Armitstead, 25, who was named last week in England’s team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where she will contest the track endurance and women’s road race, will be joined at Otley by a glittering field for the women’s race.
Double Olympic champion Laura Trott, who was prevented from competing in the inaugural ladies race at Otley last year through illness, will be a big attraction.
So too will be Dame Sarah Storey who has won paralympic gold medals at both swimming and cycling. She was the first cycling paralympian to compete against able bodied cyclists at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi,
Storey has won 11 paralympic gold medals – six for swimming and five for cycling – and her total of 11 golds is a British record which she shares with Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Dave Roberts.
Last year’s winner Elinor Barker will be back to defend her crown in what promises to be a cracking race.
Race director Giles Pidcock said: “We are absolutely delighted with the quality of the women’s race and it is great for us that Lizzie Armitstead is going to ride in two races.
“The rules won’t allow her to race against the elite men so she will race against the amateurs as she has done in the past. I am sure the people of Otley will be delighted to see her racing.”
The men’s Property development Grand Prix has the added attraction of a £1,000 first prize as a nod to the Grand Depart taking place three days later.
A highly-competitive race seems assured once again and the line up includes Olympic team pursuit gold medal winner Ed Clancy, National Road Race champion Russell Downing, riding star Adam Yates and Keighley starlet Tom Moses who has been selected for England’s Commonwealth Games Road race squad.