For the three men and three women who finished on the podium, the Olympic time trial was cause for tremendous celebration. For other riders, it was a huge frustration.
In yet another reminder of how cruel luck can be in bike racing, Luis Leon Sanchez suffered a mechanical right at the start of the 44km event. As Spain’s national time trial champion, Sanchez came to London with a good shot at a medal. He could only stand and watch his hopes slide away as he waited for a new bike from his team car, still inside the starting chute.
Then, to add insult to injury, Sanchez got a flat tire later in the race. He rode the remainder of the course half-heartedly, finishing more than six minutes down in 32nd.
Young American Taylor Phinney came into the time trial brimming with frustration over finishing fourth – just off the podium – in the Olympic road race. And although Giro d’Italia prologue winner put in a solid ride, he once again found himself in fourth at the end of the day, just outside the medals.
But the home-country crowd and the Americans certainly had plenty to cheer about, with Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins dominating the men’s event and 2008 Olympic champ Kristin Armstrong returning to the top of the podium, this time with a young son in her arms.
Click through the photo gallery at right for some of the highs and the lows of the Olympic time trial.