By Laura Weislo, Cyclingnews.com
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 12.58pm
Second successive title for American
Kristin Armstrong, of the United States, won the women's time trial Matt Rourke/AP/Press Association Images
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Kristin Armstrong (USA) took her second successive gold medal in the women's Olympic time trial, beating German Judith Arndt by a full 15 seconds over the 29km distance.
Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) added another bronze medal to the one she claimed in the road race on Sunday. The home team was denied a medal as Great Britain's Emma Pooley struggled on the flat, fast course.
In cool conditions and with light sprinkles, the women avoided the worst of the rain. Only 24 women were on the line, and due to the maximum 30km distance under Olympic rules, the women faced just 29km against the clock.
Road race bronze medalist Zabelinskaya was the fastest early time with a 37:57.45, setting the best checks along the way.
Olga Zabelinskaya sits in the hot seat (throne) as Emma Pooley rides past
Emma Pooley gave the British fans a thrill when she went under the Russian's time at the first check, but she was quickly surpassed by Clara Hughes (Canada) and then Linda Villumsen (New Zealand).
The Kiwi was a full eight seconds faster than Hughes, and once Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Arndt came through she was still quickest at check 1. Arndt lagged almost nine seconds behind - she was only fourth with one more rider to come, with both Hughes and Pooley going through quicker
When Armstrong came through, she was 1.51 seconds ahead of Villumsen, but had she gone out too hard?
The second check would be telling.
Arndt picked up her pace ahead of the second time check, getting time back on Hughes and Pooley to move into second overall behind Villumsen. The German was picking up her pace.
But when Armstrong came through check 2, she had carved another three seconds out of Villumsen's time, and had a strong lead as rain began to come down a bit more steadily.
Villumsen began to crack in the final section, and as she headed up to the line it became clear she had gone out too hard. She faded to second, just a slim second behind the Russian and out of the medal position.
Lizzie Armitstead exits Hampton Court
With Vos having dropped anchor early on, being passed by both Arndt and Armstrong earlier, it would be down to the American and the German to unseat Zabelinskaya.
Arndt, staying low in her aero tuck through the final bend and gritting her teeth, pushed hard to the line and managed to climb into the top seat at 37:50.29.
But it was clear that Armstrong would need to seriously implode in the final third of the race in order for Arndt to win gold, and when the American headed so quickly into the final bend that she had to stop pedaling for a moment, it was clear that was not the case.
Armstrong came through the line 15.47 quicker than the German to repeat her Olympic gold medal performance from four years ago in Beijing.