Armitstead insists there is no room for complacency at World Championships
LIZZIE Armitstead insists she must help Britain claim their third straight team pursuit world title this week in Denmark or face being chopped in the future.
RIDING HIGH: Lizzie Armitstead is bidding to help Great Britain to their third consecutive team pursuit world title in Copenhagen (Getty Images)
Armitstead's preparations for the World Championships have been far from ideal as she suffered a road crash while riding for the Cervelo Test Team at last month's Tour of Qatar.
The 21-year-old landed on her head and neck during the opening stage between Doha and Al Khor Corniche and was sidelined with whiplash before being struck down with a cold two weeks ago.
Armitstead admitted to reaching a crossroads in her career in the build up to last year's World Championships but underlined her talent claiming team pursuit gold, scratch race silver and point's race bronze.
She will line up in just the team pursuit and omnium this year but admits it is vital she builds on personal and team success in Copenhagen.
"My first World Championships in Manchester in 2008 weren't very good at all, I had glandular fever and a back injury beforehand but last year was a lot better," said Armitstead.
"I put all this hard work in during 2008 but never got the results so last year winning gold, silver and bronze were what I needed to happen to me.
"I needed those results to confirm the reasons why I am doing the sport and why I should carry on as such. I will take a great amount of confidence from that but the trouble is I know I have to perform again or someone else will come along and take my place.
"There is pressure on me and I do relish it and this time to get into the team pursuit team I had competition from two other girls, Katie Colclough and Hannah Mayho and I was really pushed hard so the fact that I am here is a boost as well."
On the surface, Armitstead's worries seem unfounded as she and British teammates Wendy Houvenaghel and Jo Rowsell - who she will ride with in Denmark - set a new world record during last year's Manchester World Cup.
Armitstead successfully replaced Rebecca Romero in the team pursuit at last year's World Championships as Great Britain claimed a second successive gold but Armitstead is adamant there is still room for improvement.
"As a British team we have the chance to win a third straight gold medal but before we can think about that we have to qualify for that ride off," he added.
"It was great to set a world record in Manchester but I think we may not improve from how we did there.
"You have to take into account that we were riding on our home track and we had 3,000 people cheering us on in a hot stadium and that won't be the case in Denmark so we might not go as quick.
"But certainly this year we are happy as a team, we know Australia and New Zealand are going to be close to us and I feel that winning this year is a lot more important to previous years."