2008 Olympic Games - Women's Time Trial Results
With a victory in the individual time trial on Wednesday, Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho) became just the second woman in American cycling history to win Olympic gold.
Armstrong joined 1984 Olympic gold medalist Connie Carpenter-Phinney in the exclusive club on Wednesday when she finished the 24-kilometer race in 34 minutes, 51.72 seconds, besting silver medalist Emma Pooley of Great Britain by 24 seconds. As Olympic champion, Armstrong became the third American woman to medal in the event, joining silver medalists Mari Holden (2000) and Dede Barry (2004).
"It's the most amazing day of my life," Armstrong said. "I've been working for this for the last eight years, especially the last four, and to time everything right on one day is an accomplishment of its own. The moment I had today, it's one of those dreams you have as a child in America."
Armstrong's accomplishment was the result of impeccable preparation and focus ever since realizing her potential as an Olympic champion upon winning her first of three career world championship medals in Madrid three years ago.
"Man, it's indescribable," USA Cycling Director of Endurance Programs and Armstrong's coach Jim Miller said. "We had splits we wanted to hit from the get-go and she was on top of every one. We were right on, the training was on and she had the best bike here. We've gotten her drag down to a point that is just ridiculous. We ran wheels that are lighter that her usual Sub-9 Zipps. We've tested different helmets, materials, configurations of wheels and bike parts. We got her doing specific 23-minute efforts. I've been here three times scouting this course and I've ridden it no less than 30 times myself."
Starting two hours after Armstrong received her gold medal and the Star Spangled Banner rung out, Leipheimer was given a boost of inspiration.
"To see her win definitely gave me morale," Leipheimer said. "It was great to see. I know how hard she's worked."
For the second consecutive Olympic Games, Christine Thorburn rode to a top-five finish, missing the medal stand by a mere 3.17 seconds. After placing fourth in Athens four years ago, Thorburn returned to the Olympic stage with her sights on a medal, but came up just short, placing fifth, just a few seconds behind bronze medalist Karin Thurig (SUI).
The United States' other entry in the men's time trial, David Zabriskie finished 12th, 3:06.36 behind Cancellara.
As the world champion in 2006 and a three-time medalist in the world championships (2005-07), Armstrong entered the race as one of the heavy favorites on paper. However after Sunday's road race, the prevailing thought was that Armstrong was one of many who could capture the gold on a course that suited strong climbers and all-arounders alike. Covering one lap of a 24-kilometer circuit, the women's field faced a challenging route that began with a 12-kilometer ascent at an average grade of 4 percent, followed by a slight 11-kilometer descent into a headwind and a final one-kilometer uphill finishing kick. Regarded as one of the international peloton's best climbers, Armstrong crossed the mid-race time check in second place, just 3 seconds behind Pooley. But by the time Armstrong crossed the line, she had managed to make up the few ticks necessary to claim the gold, and then some, stopping the clock at 34:51.72. With 6 competitors in the 25-rider field yet to finish, Armstrong waited until one by one each rider finished, failing to eclipse the standard Armstrong had set.
NOTE: Photos to follow...
August 13, 2008: 2008 Olympic Games - Beijing: Women's time trial (23.5 km):
1 Kristin Armstrong (United States) 00:34:51:72
2 Emma Pooley (Great Britain) 0.24.29
3 Karin Thurig (Switzerland) 0.59.27
4 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France) 1.00.90
5 Christine Thorburn (United States) 1.02.44
6 Judith Arndt (Germany) 1.08.05
7 Christiane Soeder (Austria) 1.29.03
8 Priska Doppmann (Switzerland) 1.36.07
9 Zulfiya Zabirova (Kazakhstan) 1.37.75
10 Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden) 1.41.78
11 Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) 1.43.33
12 Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) 1.46.25
13 Linda Melanie Villumsen Serup (Denmark) 1.58.90
14 Marianne Vos (Netherlands) 2.06.95
15 Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) 2.22.53
16 Natalia Boyarskaya (Russia) 2.22.93
17 Min Gao (China) 2.23.51
18 Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel (Netherlands) 2.59.87
19 Marta Vilajosana (Spain) 3.03.27
20 Maryline Salvetat (France) 3.18.00
21 Emma Johansson (Sweden) 3.37.11
22 Oenone Wood (Australia) 4.01.73
23 Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania) 4.03.65
24 Alexandra Wrubleski (Canada) 4.23.70
25 Lang Meng (China) 5.59.89