Cycling: First world road title for Otley road ace Armistead

Lizzie Armistead
Lizzie Armistead
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Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead secured the UCI Women’s Road World Cup for the first time with one race remaining.

The 25-year-old Commonwealth champion from Otley finished eighth in the Open de Suede Vargarda in Sweden, two places ahead of nearest rival Emma Johnson.

“I am relieved and happy. I didn’t expect to win the overall World Cup already,” Armitstead said.

Chantal Blaak of the Netherlands won the 132km race in cold and damp conditions in Vargarda, western Sweden.

Elena Cecchini took the leader’s jersey for best young rider this year. The Italian champion came in 11th, which was enough to secure the overall win.

The last World Cup race is the GP Plouay on Saturday, August 30 where the sprints jersey will be decided. Rabo-Liv’s Iris Slappendel leads with 20 points.

Elsewhere, Nacer Bouhanni won stage two of the Vuelta a Espana in San Fernando in a sprint finish.

The Frenchman was a comfortable winner ahead of Giant-Shimano’s John Degenkolb after an excellent lead-out from his FDJ team, while several riders lost position in the tight corners leading to the finish line.

Degenkolb was catching Bouhanni in the final metres but had left himself too much to do, settling for second with Roberto Ferrari of Lampre-Merida in third place.

Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde, the 2009 Vuelta winner inherited the leader’s red jersey from his team-mate Jonathan Castroviejo, with race favourite Nairo Quintana tucked in second place.

All the time gaps among the contenders remained the same, cementing Movistar’s advantage from Saturday’s opening team time trial with Team Sky’s Chris Froome still 27 seconds back.

Saturday’s stage had left plenty of surprising time gaps between the general classification contenders, but Sunday’s 174.4km stage was simply about staying safe for the main field while the sprinters eyed glory up ahead.

The usual early break was a six-man group but featured a couple of notable names.

Garmin-Sharp, who had a dismal time trial, sent Nathan Haas up the road and he would lead them over the only categorised climb of the day to take the early King of the Mountains jersey, but the pack slowly hauled them back in as the main GC teams made their presence felt.