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Britain's Lizzie Armitstead picked herself up after a crash with eight laps to go, rejoined the race and got a silver medal behind Cuba's Yumari Gonzalez Vadivieso.
The race was going perfectly to plan for the current World Cup champion when a crash high up the banking, up against the barriers on the back straight, brought her down.
The 20-year-old scrambled down the bank, recovered her bike and got back in the race. The rules state you can have a lap out for a crash, as long as it doesn't occur inside the final five laps.
But Armitstead, who won gold with the team pursuit squad yesterday, admitted the crash changed her strategy in the final laps.
"I perhaps wasn't as aggressive as I'd like to have been," she said. "Had I not crashed I would probably have gone earlier and been more aggressive, but take nothing away from her, she deserved to win it."
Armitstead said she thought she'd avoided the crash, but got brought down as the riders went sliding. "I got pinned up against the fence and had nowhere to go. I thought I'd missed it.
"I knew the rules and my priority was to get back in the race as soon as possible. I panicked a little bit and I'm a bit disappointed with how I handled it."
Armitstead's coach Dan Hunt said the fact she not only got straight back up and on with the race but also won a silver medal in the sprint demonstrated her character. "To have a young rider who's slightly disappointed with a silver medal after a crash tells me she's exactly the sort of rider we want."
Gonzalez Valdivieso was world scratch race champion in 2007, and runner-up last year. She started the sprint with Armitstead on her wheel and held on to win. Earlier in the race the only meaningful move was started by the USA's Shelley Olds, who got away, and after a few laps was joined by a handful of other riders before Armitstead was instrumental in helping to close the gap.
The British rider's shorts were cut and she had cuts and bruises as a result of the crash.
Scratch race results
1. Yumari Gonzalez Valdivieso (Cub)
2. Lizzie Armitstead (GB)
3. Belinda Goss (Aus)
4. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita)
5. Pascale Jeuland (Fra)
6. Eleonora Van Dijk (Ned)
7. Kelly Druyts (Bel)
8. Andrea Wolfer (Swi)
9. Feiyan Sun (Chn)
10. Jarmila Machacova (Cze)
11. Lauren Ellis (NZ)
12. Shelley Olds (USA)
13. Alena Amialyusik (Blr)
14. Maria Luisa Calle Williams (Col)
15. Tara Whitten (Can)
16. Malgorzata Wojtyra (Pol)
17. Thatsani Wichana (Tha)
18. Leire Olaberria Dorronsoro (Spa)
19. Xiao Juan Diao (HK)
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