American Kristin Armstrong (USA) took her third Olympic time trial title on Wednesday, putting in a perfectly-paced performance over the hilly route to claim gold in Rio.
As defending champion and pre-race favourite, Armstrong was last rider off and cruised through the first time check at 10 kilometre as quickest rider – despite evidently suffering from a nose bleed.
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By the second check, Armstrong posted a time three seconds down on Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) – bronze medallist in the 2012 Games in London, and a controversial inclusion in the 2016 Games due to her doping positive and suspension in 2014.
Armstrong then tackled the final descent off the day’s toughest climb of Grota Funda and subsequent flat run-in to the finish at Pontal, turning around her deficit on Zabelinskaya to win by five seconds.
Armstrong is the oldest competitor in both the women’s and men’s races, and will celebrate her 43rd birthday in style on Thursday.
Road race gold medallist Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) added another piece of hardware to her collection with bronze, 11 seconds down on Armstrong.
Britain’s Emma Pooley had a less than ideal run, and finished down in 14th place over two minutes adrift of the American winner.
Despite the wet and windy conditions, there were thankfully few incidents on the course. Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) was one of the few riders to have a problem, as she left the road and into the undergrowth. She stayed upright and lost valuable time in getting back on the road. Agonisingly, she ended up in fourth place, off the podium and wondering what could have been.
A total of 25 riders took on the 29.86km course. The men’s event takes place after the women’s, where they tackle two loops of the Grumari circuit.
Rio 2016 Olympic Games, women’s individual time trial
1. Kristin Armstrong (USA) in 44-26
2. Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) at 5 secs
3. Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) at 11 secs
4. Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) at 22 secs
5. Elisa Longon Borghini (Italy) at 25 secs
6. Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) at 28 secs
7. Tara Whitten (Canada) at 35 secs
8. Lisa Brennauer (Germany) at 56 secs
9. Katrin Garfoot (Australia) at 1-09
10. Evelyn Stevens (USA) at 1-34
14. Emma Pooley (Great Britain) at 2-05