Lizzie Armitstead is on the hunt for gold at the Olympic in London later this summer as she takes to the streets of London in the road race.
I caught up with her to talk about her new campaign with Hornby as well as how her training ahead of the Olympic Games is going.
- You are working with Hornby as the brand ambassador for London 2012 memorabilia so can you tell me a little bit about that and how you got involved?
Basically Hornby approached me to be a brand ambassador for the memorabilia for the Games and I wanted to get involved with them particularly because they are a British company that everyone knows about, they did a Velodrome Scalextric which was a cool product.
Also the die cast taxis and they have got life size ones that you can into in London that are painted up as an Olympic sport - and then you can buy the replica taxis.
It’s all good fun really and something that everyone can get involved with and I thought that it would be nice to be involved with a memorabilia brand.
- For anyone who won’t be at the Games but wants to get their hands on a piece of memorabilia how can they do that?
They can buy them in Sainsbury’s or John Lewis and Hanley’s and you can also go online.
- The London Games are now just around the corner so how would you assess the shape that you are in at the moment and how has training been going?
I am really happy with how I am going at the moment as I have just come off the back of two stage races; one in Spain and one in Holland. I was helping team mates there and got two team mates on the podium which is good.
I have got the national championships this weekend which I am in the UK for so it gives me some time to spend with the family but also training hard. So it is going well.
- You have been named in the Team GB squad of six but that will be cut down to the final four so how difficult is it not to think about that as you are training?
It is difficult but I think all along I have always prepared as if I was going and if I don’t get selected I will deal with it at the time. So I am not trying to think about selection I am trying to think about the actual race more.
- While training is going well what needs to be done between now and the Games and how will your training change as the Games get closer?
Between now and the Games I have basically decided that I am going to race into the Games so the majority of my training will be done through racing; it is something that we have tried in the past and it has worked really well.
So I have got a ten days stage race in Italy and then I have got a six day race in Germany that finishes eight days before the Games. And so those eight days will just consist of recovery and a lot less volume of riding as well as eating well and being in a hotel and resting before the race.
- The likes of Nicole Cooke and Emma Pooley are also battling for a spot on the GB Team so how exciting is it to have such strength domestically?
I think it is really important, I think that it is important across all sports, and I think that in cycling to have that competition domestically means that we have all had to fight hard to get into the team which has brought our level on. So I think that it is good to have that healthy rivalry.
- You have raced on the track and on the road throughout your career why have you decided to focus on the road race for the 2012 Games?
I decided on the road because I had to choose between the track and the road just because of the scheduling and the rider altercation. I chose the road because I love it more basically and I went with my heart rather than my head.
But I think that it is a bigger challenge trying to get a medal on the road but I enjoy the training a lot more and I like racing a lot so that is why I chose it.
- The race will finish with a sprint down the Mall how excited are you at the idea of racing in front of a huge home crowd in a part of London that has become synonymous with sport?
Very excited. I have been lucky enough to see many national events over the last couple of years with the likes of the royal wedding and the Jubilee on The Mall and I have seen how it can look with all the flags hanging down. So I think that it will be an iconic finish it’s going to be amazing.
- What do you think of the course as a whole? How much would you say your style of riding suits the streets of London?
The course is good but I think that it has been underestimated as a flay course where as I think that it is quite a heavy and hard terrain.
So I think that it will be a tough race all the way to the line and that really suits me; the harder the course the better.
- The GB cycling team as a whole was hugely successful in Beijing so what do you think the team can achieve on home soil?
Well I think we will just have to wait and see I suppose. But I know how hard everyone has been working and how motivated everyone is so it’s a similar feeling before Beijing - there’s a lot of excitement and apprehension so we will see.
- But there is a weight of expectation because of how well the team did in Beijing and as the Games creep every closer all eyes are going to be on British athletes so are you feeling that yet?
Yeah and I would say that I have felt it for the last four years I would say and it will only get more intense towards the Games.
But it is something that we have all got use to dealing with especially in cycling because they were so successful in Beijing it means that ever since then all of our results have been quite scrutinised so it’s something I have got use to.
- Of course the Games are going to be a huge inspiration for kids up and down the country so for those that want to take up cycling what advice would you give them?
My advice would be that you don’t need the best kit to get start off with you just need a basic kit. But I think to get involved with a club is the best way because you learn so much from being around other cyclists. But always wear a helmet is probably the most important.
- How did you get into the sport?
I got into it through a talent identification programme that came to the school, it was basically a van full of bikes looking for people who had potential at cycling, and it was lucky enough that I got spotted.
I got onto a funded national programme where I was given a bike and a coach and it really went from there.
- You have hinted about this already but what's coming up for you between now and the Games?
Lots of racing. I have got seventeen days of racing, including the national championships, and lots of sleeping, eating and recovering.
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw