After retiring from professional cycling following her Beijing success to have a child, Lucas, Armstrong returned to racing last season with eyes only for repeat Olympic Gold. 2011 was a rebuilding year, which saw sparks of brilliance, but also its share of questions. 2012, however, was a return to the form of old. She won each time trial she competed in – Tour of New Zealand, Tour of California (women’s time trial), Energiewacht Tour, and the Cascade Classic. Along with a return to her dominating chrono form, there was also a broken collarbone at the end of May in the Prologue of the Exergy Tour (ok, so she didn’t win every time trial then), and even a crash in Sunday’s road race. None of this mattered one bit on Wednesday though – Armstrong was perfect.
Kristin Armstrong scooped up her second Olympic Games gold medal in the time trial with a powerful ride in London today.
Reigning World Time Trial champion, Judith Arndt, put in a solid ride to come closest to Armstrong, but 15 seconds was as close as she would get.
This weekend’s bronze medal winner and instigator of the winning break in the road race, Oleg Zabelinskaya, was in the hot seat for quite some time, before eventually taking her second bronze of the Games – impressive.
Zabelinskaya occupied the hot seat for the vast portion of the day and stood tall against a bevy of challengers.
There was hope from the home crowd that Emma Pooley could pull off something special after going faster than Zabelinskaya at the first time check, but Pooley soon succumbed to the fast, flat course (read: not for Pooley) and the riders behind her.
Not a bad opening few meters!
One of those was New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen, who was smashing. Villumsen was on fire early on, setting the best times at both the first and second time checks, but faded in the final part of the course to come up just a second short of the Russian. Unfortunately, that one second would be costly once Armstrong and Arndt relegated Zabelinskaya to third.
While things were going downhill for Villumsen after a too fast for her health start, Armstrong came through in commanding fashion as the final rider on the road – close at the first time check, and then fastest at the second.
Armstrong, Arndt, Zabelinskaya – the 2012 London Olympic Games time trial podium.
Zabelinskaya had survived all comers up to this point, leaving only three riders out on the road: Vos, Arndt, and Armstrong. There’s a reason Vos hasn’t been mentioned up until this point – like Pooley, she’s a rider that excels on tough, undulating time trial courses – not this one. She was thoroughly trounced in today’s time trial, getting passed by both Arndt and Armstrong. I hate to say it, but it’s almost nice to see that she is human after all.
In the end, the two best time trialists waged war against each other and the clock, but it was the American who found fifteen fewer seconds out on the course for her second gold medal.
GOLD Kristin Armstrong (United States of America) 0:37:34.82
SILVER Judith Arndt (Germany) 0:00:15.47
BRONZE Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation) 0:00:22.53
04 Linda Melanie Villumsen (New Zealand) 0:00:24.36
05 Clara Hughes (Canada) 0:00:54.14
06 Emma Pooley (Great Britain) 0:01:02.88
07 Amber Neben (United States of America) 0:01:10.35
08 Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) 0:01:18.86
09 Trixi Worrack (Germany) 0:01:45.91
10 Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain) 0:01:51.42
11 Pia Sundstedt (Finland) 0:02:26.87
12 Tatiana Antoshina (Russian Federation) 0:02:37.67
13 Shara Gillow (Australia) 0:02:50.21
14 Emma Johansson (Sweden) 0:03:03.74
15 Audrey Cordon (France) 0:03:05.69
16 Marianne Vos (Netherlands) 0:03:05.97
17 Emilia Fahlin (Sweden) 0:03:41.04
18 Clemilda Fernandes Silva (Brazil) 0:03:50.57
19 Denise Ramsden (Canada) 0:04:09.99
20 Elena Tchalykh (Azerbaijan) 0:04:12.24