Armstrong dominates world championships but will still retire
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Armstrong dominates world championships but will still retire

by Conal Andrews at 2:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Advocacy, World Championships
 
US rider Kristin Armstrong today added a rainbow jersey to the Olympic gold medal she took last year, landing the second world championship title of her career in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

The former triathlete, who competes with the Cervélo Test Team squad, was clearly quickest in the 26.8 kilometre test. She eclipsed the previous best times and set a pace that the remaining competitors simply could not match, including last year’s champion Amber Neben (USA).

Italian woman Noemi Cantele took silver but was a considerable 55.01 seconds back. The bronze medallist, Linda Villumsen (Denmark) was a further three seconds behind, these margins reflecting the dominance of her performance.

Armstrong was deeply satisfied with her success. "It doesn't matter how many times you become champion, it's still the best feeling in the world," she said at the finish.

The 36 year old had previously put off her planned retirement from the sport so that she could have one last campaign at the worlds. She’ll hang up her racing wheels immediately after the women’s road race this Saturday, moving on to the next phase of her life.

Earlier this year she discussed the reasons why she contemplated stopping, revealing that she’d taken two months last Autumn to decide whether to keep going or not. “My biggest questions was what was my next goal?” she said. “I was world champion in 2006, I was Olympic champion, and if I continued to ride, I didn’t want just to ride to ride. I wanted to make sure in my head that I was clear about my reasons for doing so.

“Coming from America, racing in Europe is a big sacrifice and for me to make that sacrifice, I believe that you have to be in it 120 percent. If you are not, you will just be average, and for me I want to be the best again.”

She achieved that target today, sandwiching that Olympic time trial title with two superb rainbow jerseys. Armstrong will have one last race on Saturday and, with it, one last chance to either top the podium herself, or help another American to do so. But whatever happens in three days time, she knows it’s time to move on.

“I tried to imagine my life without cycling and I wasn’t ready for that,” she said several months ago. Now she is ready. Armstrong wants to have a family, and also plans to work with young riders in a sports director role.
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