2008 Olympic Games - Men's Time Trial Results
Gold for Cancellara. Larsson takes silver while Levi Leipheimer brings home bronze to the USA.
In the men's race, the consensus was that Cancellara would be the man to beat after watching his remarkable performance during Saturday's road race in which he quickly bridged a seemingly insurmountable gap to the leaders on the final downhill stretch. That move earned him the bronze medal a few days ago, but sent a message to the rest of the 39-rider field that he'd be unbeatable in the time trial. And if Cancellara was the heavy favorite on race day, Evans, Leipheimer, Contador and Menchov were as safe bets as anyone to challenge the reigning world champion.
The time trial turned out to be a cliffhanger of a battle between the two Team CSC Saxo Bank riders Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Gustav Erik Larsson (Sweden) and Astana’s Alberto Contador (Spain) as the three took turns leading throughout the race.
The route went up the same 10-kilometer hill as on Saturday’s road race and the first intermediate time was after 10.8 kilometers, where Contador was eight seconds ahead of Larsson, who had a further ten seconds down to Cancellara.
But at the bottom of the climb after 23.5 kilometers Cancellara had taken the lead with 16 seconds on Contador and another 10 on Larsson. This was reminiscent of the fantastic descent the Swiss rider managed on Saturday during the final lap in the road race, where he took the Bronze Medal.
The third intermediate time was after 34.6 kilometers and suddenly Larsson was in the lead six seconds ahead of his teammate and with another 11 down to Contador. But the six seconds were not enough for the Swede on the second time descending.
Cancellara ended up crossing the finish line 33 seconds ahead of Larsson. After starting slowly and crossing the third intermediate time check in fifth place, Contador's Astana team mate Levi Leipheimer moved himself into the bronze medal position by recording the second-fastest final leg.
”It was a world class performance by our guys today and I’m very proud and happy on their behalf. Fabian lived up to his status as a favorite in the most fantastic way and Gustav performed amazingly as well. To take both the Gold and Silver in a discipline, where you’re up against the very best in the world is huge. And I also think that Chris Anker should be pleased with his top-20 spot. He’s very strong at the moment," said Team CSC boss Bjarne Riis afterwards and added:
"I know that Fabian has been working his way towards this time trial for a very long time and we’ve been happy to assist him in fulfilling his dream of a Gold Medal. In my opinion he’s the best time trial rider in the entire history of cycling sport and when you consider all the other results he achieves you’ve gotta respect the guy and admit that Fabian Cancellara is absolutely fantastic!"
Commenting on his time trial performance Levi Leipheimer told Roadcycling.com that "To see [Kristin Armstrong] win definitely gave me morale. It was great to see. I know how