Otley ace Lizzie Armitstead says squabble with Olympic team-mate Cooke is history

Western Telegraph: Lizzie Armitstead, centre, competing at Ampleforth on Sunday Lizzie Armitstead, centre, competing at Ampleforth on Sunday

Olympic road race medal hope Lizzie Armitstead is bored with the furore surrounding her row with Great Britain team-mate Nicole Cooke but admits she only has herself to blame.

Armitstead fell out with Cooke last year when she was the designated leader at September’s World Championships in Copenhagen but publicly hit out at Cooke for riding “for herself”.

Wales’ Cooke is the defending Olympic champion and the pair are competing for the role of team leader for the 140km July 29 road race, which finishes on The Mall.

Otley’s Armitstead, though, is adamant the squabble is in the past.

“There was an issue at the Copenhagen World Championships which we’ve discussed and sorted out,” she said.

“The issue has long gone but obviously it stays around in the media a lot longer, so we’re kind of bored of that question.

"But I shouldn’t have said anything in the media in the first place (to start the row) but that’s the way it goes.

“It hasn’t bothered me. It’s something you get used to, especially as a British athlete at a home Games. You’re going to get asked controversial questions just because they want a headline. I’m kind of used to it, it’s fine.”

Cooke, who joined Armitstead and their two other team-mates Emma Pooley and Lucy Martin in Loughborough today to collect their London 2012 kit, is also keen to put the issue to bed.

“I think I got over it pretty quickly,” she said. “It’s something which doesn’t have any impact on how we perform on the day.

“So just getting on with my training and then our team training and preparation together is what we need to be putting our effort into.”

Cooke admits it is perhaps unfair that in an event so reliant on teamwork, only one athlete per team gets a medal for winning.

“It is going to be a team performance which wins the gold and only one rider will take the medal home,” she said.

“It’s good that people are starting to recognise the role that the team has to play.

“It is such a hard thing because not every rider in the team might be able to win on that day, so the leader has the responsibility to finish off the ride that the team-mates are putting in place.

“But really it is a team effort that will make that rider win. So there really ought to be recognition for the whole team.”

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