Lizzie Armitstead aims for Women's Tour glory

Armitstead worries about women's cycling (©GettyImages)

Lizzie Armitstead aims for glory in the inaugural Women's Tour starting on the 9th May.

It will be the first time that Armitstead has raced in the UK since winning the British National Road Race Championships in 2013.

Armitstead has not been off the podium since she won the opening round of the World Cup at the Ronde van Drenthe and has built up a huge lead on the other riders. 160 points separate her from second place.

The 25 year old will be looking to impress on home shores and admits she wants to do well in front of her friends and family.

Armitstead said, according to Cycling News: "It's difficult but I want to do well in my home race. All my family and friends are coming to support me."

11 of the top 13 teams will compete in the race and Olympic and world road race champion Marianne Vos will also be a part of the Tour.

Other Brits taking part include: Dani King, Laura Trott, Emma Pooley, Jo Rowsell, Elinor Barker, Emma Trott, Lucy Martin, Sharon Laws, Lucy Garner and Hannah Barnes.

It is well known that women's cycling seems to have been neglected over the years with the money only being pumped into the male teams but there is some good news for women as the Women's Tour, which is the equivalent of the Tour of Britain, will be given the same TV coverage and prize money.

The Boels Dolmans rider is happy her sport is moving in the right direction and hopes it will continue to improve.

Armitstead said: "This is really significant for all of us... most women's races don't pay much at all,” she said. "I feel quite positive about women's cycling right now… I'm confident we'll get on Eurosport one day."

"The UCI are now live-streaming the World Cup races and Tracey Gaudry [the first woman to be elected vice-president at the UCI] has been at every race. I like her and so there are some positive changes."

There is even talk of there being a one day event run in tandem with the final stage of the Tour de France as well as a one day race hosted by the Vuelta a Espana.

With this all said though Armitstead knows how hard it is for women to make it in cycling as there seems to be no set structure and equality. Three of her teams in three years closed down as there is no team like Sky to support women.

Armitstead added: “There's no women's programme. There's no women's road academy. There's no pathway for women.

“Their business model is dictated by the Olympics and funding is generated by medals. There are many more medals to be won on the track rather than the road, so I can understand the logic.”

“It's always been like this. I had to find my own path and, in some ways, it's been a good thing. I'm quite a strong person and I've become even stronger… If you're going to succeed in professional sport you have to be resilient."

Despite all of Armitstead's success there is still no clear route into women's cycling and this a problem that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.

Women’s Tour 2014: The stages

Stage one, Wednesday May 7

Oundle to Northampton

Stage two, Thursday May 8

Hinckley to Bedford

Stage three, Friday May 9

Felixstowe to Clacton-on-Sea

Stage four, Saturday May 10

Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City

Stage five, Sunday May 11

Harwich to Bury St. Edmunds

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