Lizzie Armitstead admits she surprised even herself as she won the final Ladies Tour of Qatar stage in Doha to claim overall victory.
Armitstead, riding for Boels-Dolmans, only needed to finish third to pip Wiggle-Honda’s Chloe Hosking to the title.
But the 26-year-old London 2012 road race silver medallist wasn’t about to take it easy, edging out the Australian in the final sprint to win by 12 seconds.
Armitstead had helped her cause earlier in the 85-kilometre stage by winning the first intermediate sprint, but Hosking gained two seconds on her in the second, although the Brit admitted this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“It’s a really nice surprise, I’m in better shape than I expected,” said Armitstead. “I didn’t come here to win; I came here for the training, and to find out what I’m missing.
“We probably went early but I was caught off guard. That put more pressure on in the final sprint, but I learnt from it for the finish.
“It was difficult to judge the wind [on the circuit]; although it was crosswind, sometimes it was coming off the sea. With the bend in the road at 200m to go, it became a headwind.”
© Sportsbeat 2015