Women’s Tour of New Zealand: Kristin Armstrong takes opening time trial
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Women’s Tour of New Zealand: Kristin Armstrong takes opening time trial

by Ben Atkins at 2:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Olympic champion beats US champion and World champion to stake an early claim to a place at London 2012

kristin armstrong

Reigning Olympic time trial champion Kristin Armstrong, riding for the United States National Team, has struck an early blow in the battle for a place in this summer’s Olympic Games in London, with victory in the opening time trial of the women’s Tour of New Zealand. The 38-year-old two-time World champion completed the 7km Palmerston North course in a time of 10’15”; she finished a full 17 seconds ahead of national teammate, US champion Evelyn Stevens, who will be one of her chief rivals for an Olympic place. Second last to start, Armstrong enjoyed far better conditions than Stevens however, who, as an early starter, was forced to ride in torrential rain.

Reigning World champion Judith Arndt (GreenEDGS-AIS) was the last rider to start, but was unable to match her predecessor’s time; finishing fractions of a second behind former HTC-Highroad teammate Stevens.

Arndt’s GreenEDGE-AIS teammates Linda Villumsen - the top New Zealand rider - and Shara Gillow finished fourth and fifth respectively, 22 and 28 seconds behind Armstrong.

"We have a lot of work cut out for us, there are a lot of great teams here and we have GreenEdge behind us in 3rd and 4th,” said Armstrong after the stage. “There are four days left to go and we have our work cut for us."

Armstrong, who has ridden a largely domestic programme in the US since returning to the sport following the birth of her first child, last rode the Tour of New Zealand in 2008. She won two stages of that year’s race, including the equivalent time trial, and went on to take the race overall.

Later that year she took her Olympic title in Beijing, China, and will doubtless be hoping that the same omens will be present for her this time around.

Result stage 1
1. Kristin Armstrong (USA) United States National Team
2. Evelyn Stevens (USA) United States National Team @ 17s
3. Judith Arndt (Ger) GreenEDGE-AIS
4. Linda Villumsen (NZl) GreenEDGE-AIS @ 22s
5. Shara Gillow (Aus) GreenEDGE-AIS @ 28s
6. Taryn Heather (Aus) Team Jayco-AIS @ 36s
7. Rachel Neylan (Aus) Armstrong Motor Group Team @ 37s
8. Carla Ryan (Aus) Team Jayco-AIS @ 44s
9. Carmen Small (USA) Unites States National Team
10. Joanne Hogan (Aus) VIS Women Team

Standings after stage 1
1. Kristin Armstrong (USA) United States National Team
2. Evelyn Stevens (USA) United States National Team @ 17s
3. Judith Arndt (Ger) GreenEDGE-AIS
4. Linda Villumsen (NZl) GreenEDGE-AIS @ 22s
5. Shara Gillow (Aus) GreenEDGE-AIS @ 28s
6. Taryn Heather (Aus) Team Jayco-AIS @ 36s
7. Rachel Neylan (Aus) Armstrong Motor Group Team @ 37s
8. Carla Ryan (Aus) Team Jayco-AIS @ 44s
9. Carmen Small (USA) Unites States National Team
10. Joanne Hogan (Aus) VIS Women Team

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