Armstrong repeats with Olympic time trial gold
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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Armstrong repeats with Olympic time trial gold

by Kyle Moore at 9:07 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Olympics
 
15 seconds quicker than Judith Arndt in second, Zabelinskaya takes another bronze

Kristin ArmstrongKristin Armstrong (United States) duplicated her feat from 2008, repeating as the gold medal champion in the Olympic time trial on Wednesday in London. Armstrong completed her comeback from pregnancy in an impressive style, setting best times at each of the two intermediate time checks before finishing almost 16 seconds ahead of silver medal Judith Arndt (Germany).

Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) grabbed the bronze, her second podium finish of the week after going third in the road race as well. The Russian dominated most of the day after taking the best time and hanging onto it until the final two starters hit the finish line.

Linda Villumsen was fourth, missing out on a medal by less than two seconds.

"This is an amazing moment for me to come back four years later," Armstrong stated. "I read about people like Michael Phelps. But I always feel like I'm the normal one, the normal kid that never was told by their coach that I have anything special. It was just the determination and sacrifice that I had, all the way from when I was in elementary school. To come back and have the stars align four years apart on one day is something very special. It took a lot of work. It took a lot of work from my family, a lot of sacrifice. I'm so glad I could do it for them.

"This is it," the 38-year-old said of her official retirement. "I just kept on telling myself out there, my mantra was, 'Kristin, you must live with the result, whatever it is.' Any athlete knows you're only as good as your last ride, and this was my last ride."

Finland’s Pia Sundstedt was the quickest of the early starters, finishing in a time of 40’01”. Her mark held until Zabelinskaya blazed through. The Russian had been much quicker at each time check and came home in 37’57”, more than two minutes faster than Sundstedt.

As the favourites got underway at 90-second intervals, the 9km time check began to be quite telling. Zabelinskaya seemed to have parceled out her efforts well, as she was beaten by multiple riders at the first check. Lizzie Armistead came through 20 seconds in arrears, and Amber Neben (United States) was slower as well. Emma Pooley (Great Britain) was the first rider to go quicker than Zabelinskaya at the first check, though only by seven seconds.

With road race gold medalist Marianne Vos (Netherlands) off the pace, Clara Hughes (Canada) took the new best time at the first check until Villumsen went through fastest. Intriguingly, Arndt was only fourth best after nine kilometres. Armstrong was the last through, and blazed past less than two seconds faster than Villumsen.

At the second check, 20.4km into the 29km race, Pooley was now 20 seconds behind Zabelinskaya, and Hughes was also slower. Villumsen was the first to top the Russian rider at the second check, until Arndt did as well, followed by Armstrong, who had increased her lead to four seconds with nine kilometres to race.

Neben hit the finish with the second best time, almost a minute behind Zabelinskaya. After the American, the trend became a host of female cyclists hitting the finish with the second best time. First it was Pooley, in 38’37”, then Hughes was eight seconds faster than the Brit, though no match for Zabelinskaya’s finish. Villumsen was next through, with the heartbreaking 1.5-second defeat.

But Arndt and Armstrong were both able to hold their leads. The German reigning world time trial champion posted her 37’50”, but her lead was short lived, as Armstrong had saved plenty for the finale.

The American padded her lead to 15 seconds, in disbelief at the finish after adding London gold to Beijing.

Olympic Women’s Time Trial (29km):

1, ARMSTRONG Kristin (United States) 37:34.82
2, ARNDT Judith (Germany) 37:50.29
3, ZABELINSKAYA Olga (Russia) 37:57.35
4, VILLUMSEN Linda Melanie (New Zealand) 37:59.18
5, HUGHES Clara (Canada) 38:28.96
6, POOLEY Emma (Great Britain) 38:37.70
7, NEBEN Amber (United States) 38:45.17
8, VAN DIJK Ellen (Netherlands) 38:53.68
9, WORRACK Trixi (Germany) 39:20.73
10, ARMITSTEAD Elizabeth (Great Britain) 39:26.24
11, SUNDSTEDT Pia (Finland) 40:01.69
12, ANTOSHINA Tatiana (Russia) 40:12.49
13, GILLOW Shara (Australia) 40:25.03
14, JOHANSSON Emma (Sweden) 40:38.56
15, CORDON Audrey (France) 40:40.51
16, VOS Marianne (Netherlands) 40:40.79
17, FAHLIN Emilia (Sweden) 41:15.86
18, FERNANDES SILVA Clemilda (Brazil) 41:25.39
19, RAMSDEN Denise (Canada) 41:44.81
20, TCHALYKH Elena (Azerbaijan) 41:47.06
21, GUDERZO Tatiana (Italy) 41:48.94
22, CANTELE Noemi (Italy) 41:51.18
23, DE VOCHT Liesbet (Belgium) 42:08.28
24, MOOLMAN Ashleigh (South Africa) 42:23.57

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