Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
British, 27, Cycling
Cycling champion breaking beyond the Olympics and the UK
Key partners: BP, Wattbike
2015 ranking: New entry
While the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome have helped to spearhead British cycling’s recent boom in popularity, and have all ridden the attendant commercial waves, the country is still awaiting its first all-round female star in the field. Lizzie Armitstead, the rider who closed out 2015 as the reigning world, Commonwealth and national road race champion is the prime candidate to fill that role; the crowds who braved the unseasonable cold to watch her pass through her native town of Otley in 2016’s Tour de Yorkshire a testament to the pulling power she already possesses.
The 2012 Olympics in her home country arguably came too soon for a cyclist only now climbing to her athletic peak but, having made her name with a silver medal there – the first medal for Britain at those Games – the 27-year-old will go to Rio with genuine hopes of gold and will potentially come out of it as the new face of British cycling.
A two-year contract extension with her UCI team, Dutch outfit Boels-Dolmans, signed in early May, will ensure Armitstead remains a presence on the circuit well beyond the UK and also offers a guarantee of stability to both her current and potential commercial partners. With women’s cycling remaining a relatively unexplored field from a brand perspective, Armitstead could yet find herself as an unexpected pioneer. AN
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