The Boels-Dolmans rider crossed the line with her arms raised in a victory salute. After hitting the ground, her bike slid several metres along the road. Several other riders crashed as well.
According to the team’s Facebook page, a full medical check-up after the incident confirmed Armitstead did not break any bones in the crash. But the race leader will not start stage two, in order to recover from soft tissue damage and prepare for the upcoming British road championships where she hopes to reclaim the title she won two years ago.
Armitstead may have lost her balance during the victory celebration and veered sideways into the photographer, according to Cyclingnews.
Armistead’s crash wasn’t the only drama in the 112km opening stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour, from Bury St Edmond to Aldeburgh.
“It was relatively uneventful for the first 50km or so,” said Wiggle Honda's Nettie Edmondson from Australia. “It all stayed together, but it was pretty fast.
“Once the break got away, we thought it was okay, and it was still under control until we hit the railway lines, where we got held up by a minute,” said the double Track World Champion.
“The break didn’t have to stop, so we had a big gap to close; that changed the plan a bit, so we had to use three riders to bring it back. They did a brilliant job, but unfortunately we weren't able to get up for the win today.”
By the time the bunch was able to get started again, the breakaway’s advantage had stretched out to 2min 45sec, with less than 40km to race.
Wiggle Honda, along with Velocio-SRAM and Liv-Plantur, began to steadily close the gap to the breakaway group. With 10km to go the quartet’s lead was down to one minute but, as they turned onto the Aldeburgh seafront with 3km to go, they still had 40 seconds.
The breezy seaside conditions proved too much and they were caught inside the final 500 metres.
Stage 1: 112.6km, Bury St Edmonds - Aldeburgh
1 Elizabeth Armitstead (GBR) Boels-Dolmans 2hr 39min 53sec
2 Lisa Brennauer (GER) Velocio-SRAM 0:00:00
3 Emma Johansson (SWE) Orica-AIS
4 Simona Frapporti (ITA) Ale Cipollini
5 Jolien D'Hoore (BEL) Wiggle Honda
6 Roxane Knetemann (NED) Rabo Liv
7 Pascale Jeuland (FRA) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.89
8 Alexis Ryan (USA) Unitedhealthcare
9 Lotta Lepistö (FIN) Bigla
10 Aude Biannic (FRA) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86
1 Elizabeth Armitstead (GBR) Boels-Dolmans 2hr 39min 43sec
2 Lisa Brennauer (GER) Velocio-SRAM 0:00:04
3 Marta Tagliaferro (ITA) Ale Cipollini 0:00:05
4 Emma Johansson (SWE) Orica-AIS 0:00:06
5 Coryn Rivera (USA) Unitedhealthcare
6 Elinor Barker (GBR) Matrix Fitness 0:00:07
7 Simona Frapporti (ITA) Ale Cipollini 0:00:10
8 Jolien D'Hoore (BEL) Wiggle Honda
9 Roxane Knetemann (NED) Rabo Liv
10 Pascale Jeuland (FRA) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.89