Armitstead silver gets GB off the mark

29 July 2012 / 17:06

Lizzie Armitstead won silver to claim Great Britain's first medal of London 2012 in the women's cycling road race as Holland's Marianne Vos took gold on The Mall.

Armitstead was beaten to victory at the end of a pulsating 140-kilometre race, which featured two climbs of Surrey's Box Hill.

With the peloton cast adrift, the 23-year-old from Otley near Leeds, was in line for Britain's first medal of the home Games, but the question remained which colour. Armitstead positioned herself behind the Dutchwoman entering the finishing straight but Vos was strong enough to hold off the Briton, who had to settle for second.

Russia's Olga Zabelinskaya was third.

Nicole Cooke won Britain's first gold medal of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in the event and Armitstead was seeking to emulate the success to ensure the title remained in British hands.

Cooke's victory came in teeming rain by the Great Wall of China four years ago and Armitstead's bid for victory was played out in similarly treacherous and wet conditions.

In a frantic race, with attack after attack, Armitstead was part of the late escape on the final descent after Box Hill, but prolific winner Vos was too strong.

Armitstead was content to sit behind Vos, marking her arch rival ahead of the sprint.

But Vos had too much strength after a gruelling race and Armitstead had to be content with silver.