Kristin Armstrong Wins Olympic Gold in Women's Time Trial of 2012 London Olympics

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08/1/2012| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
United States' Kristin Armstrong wins Olympic Gold in the women's individual time trial in London ahead of Germany's Judith Arndt and Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
United States' Kristin Armstrong wins Olympic Gold in the women's individual time trial in London ahead of Germany's Judith Arndt and Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Kristin Armstrong Wins Olympic Gold in Women's Time Trial of 2012 London Olympics

Kristin Armstrong knew she was the favorite to win time trial gold in cycling at the Beijing Olympics. But when she looked at the start list in London, she counted nine riders with a shot.

Kristin Armstrong knew she was the favorite to win time trial gold in cycling at the Beijing Olympics. But when she looked at the start list in London, she counted nine riders with a shot.

In the end, there was only one.

The defending champion blistered an 18-mile course starting and ending at Hampton Court Palace south of London earlier this afternoon to win her second straight Olympic gold medal. Her time of 37 minutes, 34.82 seconds was more than 15 seconds better than time trial world champion Judith Arndt of Germany, who took silver.

Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia won the bronze medal.

"My mantra was, You have to live with this ride," Armstrong commented after being celebrated on the Olympic podium "You're only as good as your last result."

It couldn't have been any better.

The former two-time world champion had already gained a second on the field by the first time check, and the advantage had swelled to five by the time she reached the 12½-mile mark.

Armstrong knew she was headed for another gold when she started to pick off riders in the run-up to the finish, including Dutch champion Marianne Vos, who won gold in the road race.

The famously stoic Armstrong let a smile slip as she crossed the finish line, slowing to a stop and then slumping over her bike. She rested just enough to catch her breath before heading to the victory stand and her second consecutive Olympic gold.

Armstrong briefly retired after the 2008 Beijing Olympics to start a family.

"When she stopped, she was on top. You don't lose what you've got," said Armstrong's teammate Amber Neben, who finished seventh. "You don't lose the fact that you're a great bike racer."

It was all gold for Armstrong, even if the path from the Beijing Olympic Games wasn't entirely smooth.

Armstrong thought she was finished after winning the world championship in 2009, but got the itch to ride again after delivering a son, Lucas, in 2010. She got back on the bike and started to win races, only to break her collarbone during a crash in May.

Armstrong admits that she rushed her recovery, getting back on the bike only a couple weeks later. But she also thinks the time off allowed her to refocus on the 2012 London Olympics.

"This is an amazing moment," she said. "A lot of people ask me what the differences were between this and Beijing. I would say this was a much more difficult journey."

"Most of the time, I'm out on the time trial trying to focus, trying to struggle, trying to keep my power up. Today, there are very few moments on the course I remember. All of a sudden I'm like, 'Wow, I'm through the climbs. Wow, I'm here already. Wow, I have to drive it.' I knew if I let off my power one time, the finish goes from first to fourth in an instant," Armstrong told Roadcycling.com.

The mostly flat course that Armstrong turned into her personal playground began at the beautiful and

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