Armstrong, Cancellara win Olympic time trial gold
There were questions heading in to the men's time trial, such as: whether Stefan Schumacher carried his form from the tour; or whether Contador was best suited to the hilly course. A resounding no on both counts. Cancellara is showing that he can power up the lesser slopes and that the course suited him just fine.
As for Kristin Armstrong, she took a page out of her namesake's pre-race prep book and is widely thought to have been the best prepared of the women entering in the race.
Fabian Cancellara’s finish-line salute at the end of Wednesday’s Olympic time trial erased any concerns that the big Swiss rider has lost his edge in the race against the clock. He rolled into the finishing straight with 33 seconds in his pocket over Swede Gustav Larsson, stopped pedaling, lifted his arm in a very un-aero fist and punched the air.
Just one month ago Cancellara lost both time trials at the Tour de France to Germany’s Stefan Schumacher. The two losses left some doubt that Cancellara — the two-time defending time-trial world champ — could earn his first taste of Olympic gold. But on a muggy day in China, which saw Schumacher crumble in the heat, Cancellara earned his redemption.
“This has been the focus for so long,” said Cancellara, who clocked a 1:02:11 over the 47.3km course. “I told myself that going home without the gold is a failure. I've prepared specifically for this race and made a lot of sacrifices. I'm here at the Olympics and you see a Swiss flag, you hear the anthem. What more do you want?”
Larsson, a teammate of Cancellara’s at team CSC-Saxo Bank was a surprise finisher in second with a 1:02:44, calling the ride “the most beautiful race I’ve done in my life.”
American Levi Leipheimer won a tight battle with Alberto Contador of Spain and Cadel Evans of Australia for the bronze.
“I pictured myself on the top step, but it’s fantastic to win a medal,” said Leipheimer. “You hear people say Gold, Silver, Bronze, it’s all good.”
The three grabbed the podium spots after Canadian Svein Tuft spent the lion’s share of the day in the hot seat. Tuft, who hails from Langley, British Columbia, powered through consistent time splits to finish in 1:04:39, which would hold on for seventh place.
A big note to Svein Tuft who demonstrated what we all have known for years watching him locally, he is a world class rider who could choose to be on a bigger stage.