Olympic Games, Beijing, 2008
Individual TT 23.5km
Kristin Armstrong (USA) has become Olympic TT Champion. She started towards the end of the list of starters and finished in 34 minutes 51 seconds. Second was Emma Pooley (GBR), 35 minutes 16 seconds and third, Armstrong's professional team team-mate at Cervelo Lifeforce, Karin Thürig (Switzerland) 35 minutes 50 seconds.
Jeannie Long-Ciprelli (France) was fourth, just missing the podium in her eighth Olympics Games.
The race in detail
Kristin Armstrong won the Olympic Time Trial event in a time of 34 minutes
51.72 seconds ahead of her nearest rival the tiny British Dynamo Emma
Pooley, who had held first place for most of the event. The past World
Champion and Swiss Time Trial champion and Armstrong's professional team
team-mate at Cervelo Lifeforce, Karin Thürig finishing in third,
repeating the bronze medal that she received in Athens. Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli
the incredible French woman in her 7th Olympics finished 4th.
course of the Individual Time Trial was a tough undulating 23.8 km circuit
covering the road circuit between the Great Wall sections of Badaling and
Juyongguan. There were 25 starters for the event represented by seventeen
different nations. The advantage for a country medal had to go however to
the eight countries that had qualified two riders, while all the remaining
only had one. Those lucky eight were host nation China, Great Britain,
France, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and the USA. Karin
Thürig the Swiss Time Trial champion was the only one of the Athens
podium, to be involved in the Beijing event, although there were a number
of riders who had represented their country in Athens and were back in
Beijing, including Christine Thorburn (USA) who finished 4th in Athens.
was not easy, prior to the start of the Time Trial, to pick favourite for
the medals with a number of top riders in contention for the Gold medal in
great form. There were at
least 10 riders who could feature in the gold medal spot, including the
German team of the current World Time Trial Champion Hanka Kupfernagel and
Judith Arndt, the Swiss team of Thürig and Doppmann who are part of the
very successful Time Trialing team of Cervelo Lifeforce and team mate
Christiane Soeder, the Austrian time trial champion, who tried to make
amends for missing out on a medal in the road race.
The two Americans Armstrong and Christine Thorburn certainly had
strength to ride well. The 49 year old Jeannie Logo-Ciprelli had surprised
everyone with her form in the road race and certainly put herself in
contention for the time trial.
weather was much more favourable for the riders, compared to the conditions
they experienced during the road race. It was dry albeit still a little
misty with a small tail wind on the way out to the climb and a light head
wind on the down hill run into the finish. The course definitely favoured
the riders who could climb as well as power-descend well.
Wrubleski the Canadian Road Race champion was the first to start and never really challenged the
top riders. Marianne Vos, the Dutch cycling superstar
had fought to get a start in the time trial event, but seemed to struggle to
maintain speed on the hill section of the course. She was 12th fastest at
the 10km point and finished 14th.
Arndt (Germany) did not get a great start and seemed to be struggling for
fresh form after the huge effort that she had put in during the Road race
to try to bring the break back. Arndt was 9th at the 10km point but her
great descending skills moved her into 6th place overall.
Longo-Ciprelli has represented France in seven Olympics, she never stops
surprising the younger riders and her time trial performance was one of
those occasions. The current French TT champion posted a third fasted time
at 10km only 23 seconds behind Pooley but known for her caution on the
descent and reports of a mechanical problem, Longo-Ciprelli lost time and finished in 4th place.
Thorburn (USA) started well and was 4th at the 10km point but started to
struggle at the top of the climb. She lost time towards the top of the
climb and despite all efforts on the descent she could not maintain her
speed and lost time finishing in 5th place. Soeder (Austria) and Doppmann
(Switzerland) were 8th and 10th respectively at the 10km point and Soeder
only managed to improve one place , while Doppmann beat her Athens placing
by one to finish 8th.
British rider Emma Pooley, who was not the planned starter
for the British team, got a start based on her performance in the road
race and World Championships in 2007. Pooley started 4th and it looked
like the Gold medal place was assured. Pooley powered up the initial few
hundred metres of the uphill start and continued to the 10km point in
first place. It was an anxious wait for Pooley while she waited for the
remaining riders to finish. Karin Thürig started 9th and at 10km could
only manage 5th best. Thürig used her experience and power on the
downhill to move her up to third place.
started in the last 5 and was second fastest at the 10km point showed real
class on the descent to move past the time of Pooley and into the Gold
medal position. Hanka
Kupfernagel the German World Time Trial champion started last. The hilly
start to the course made it difficult for Kupfernagel to build her usual
power and could manage 16th at the 10km point. She managed to gain some
advantage on the down hill but could not close the gap on Armstrong.
Kristin Armstrong (USA) had an amazing ride and never really looked troubled by the course. Speaking to the media after the event Armstrong said, "It's the most amazing day of my life. 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. I knew this wasn't an ordinary time trial; it was really more of a mountain time trial"
Emma Pooley (Great Britain) rode one of the best rides of her life. It looked like she would get gold only missing out by 24.29 seconds to Armstrong. Pooley was overjoyed at her performance and was very excited whilst speaking to the BBC. "In the road race, I was doing my job" she said. "Today, I just concentrated on riding as fast as I could, being absolutely smooth and enjoying myself without anyone to push me off. It helps being positive-nervous, because you've been waiting four years for this. I was enjoying going fast, it was pretty fun, and I just kept saying 'faster, faster'" she said smiling. "I raced as well as I could" she added.
Then, "There's no secret, you just have to make it hurt. Imagine a friend sitting on your wheel, shouting at you."
Results - Top 10 - click here to see full result
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
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