Armitstead ‘forced to dance with male rider’
LIZZIE Armitstead has claimed she was forced to dance with a male team-mate for his birthday late at night when she was a 19- year- old on a professional cycling team.
The 2015 world champion road racer, now 28, said she was given ‘no choice’ but to take part in a dance competition with a male rider on a Nintendo Wii game while male colleagues sat and watched.
Armitstead said she was woken at 11.30pm by a manager with the Cervelo team and told to attend the impromptu party, where she was the only woman present. In an interview given to The
Guardian to promote her new autobiography — the publication of which had to be delayed after
Sportsmail’s revelations shortly before the Rio Olympic Games about her three missed drugs tests — Armitstead said she felt confused and foolish and was ‘left with no choice’ but to comply. She added: ‘It was only later, when I really thought about it, I thought, “No, that wasn’t a laugh”.’
Armitstead yesterday appeared to become the latest rider to accuse British Cycling of sexism, only to then distance herself from the accusation on social media.
She said that when she became world champion in 2015, the British Cycling team manager and her coach, Brian Stephens, was not even present because he had prioritised the men’s junior team.
‘ I was really disappointed, because I’d done everything right going into that competition, and I just needed them to get it right for me on the day,’ she said.
‘And they didn’t. There was a lack of leadership. They let me down big time.’
Armitstead also pointed to the inequality in prize-money at the 2015 World Championship.
‘My prize-money for winning the 2015 World Championship was £2,000 and the men’s was £20,000. But the good thing from that is this year it changed. We have equal money.’
But no sooner had a story which promoted the interview on
The Guardian’s website been published, than Armitstead was backtracking.
In a post on Twitter, she said: ‘I would like to make clear I do not think BC (British Cycling) as an organisation are sexist.’
UK Anti-Doping wanted Armitstead banned from the Rio Olympics after failing to declare her ‘whereabouts’ on three occasions.
The cyclist successful appealed to have one of the strikes removed from her record at a hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.