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29th Olympic Games - JO

Beijing, China, August 9-23, 2008

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August 13: Women's time trial, 23.5km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Susan Westemeyer

Live coverage starts: 11:30
Estimated finish: 13:00

11:25 CST   
Good morning and welcome back to the Olympics! Today we have both time trials on tap for you, first the women, then the men. The course is a tough one and will look familiar -- because it is the same round course that was used in the road races. The women go one lap, 23.5 km.

We will have only 25 women riding this morning, representing 17 nations. That means that eight nations have two riders, while all the others have only one. Those lucky eight are host nation China, Great Britain, France, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and the USA.

A Temple and the Great Wall
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
(Click for larger image)

11:31 CST   
The first rider off is a Canadian. Alexandra Wrubleski, 24, of Canada comes from Regina, Saskatchewan, and rides for the Webcor Builders team. In 2006 she was the national champion in both time trial and road. In her spare time, in case she has any, she is studying computer technology. She also rode the road race on Sunday, but crashed on a downhill curve, which threw her back, and she finished 50th.

11:32 CST   
It is dry today, fortunately. The ladies will appreciate that after Sunday's rain race.

11:33 CST   
The second to go is Lang Meng, a 24 year-old Chinese rider, who finished 48th in the road race.

11:34 CST   
The third one is underway. Natalia Boyarskaya of Russia is 25, and rides for the Fenixs-Colnago team. You will probably remember her from the road race, in which she was the only one to make much of a solo break. She got a lead of up to a minute, but was unable to stay away, and ended up finishing 40th.

11:36 CST   
And the next one: Edita Pucinskaite is a Lithuanian who rides for Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung. Last year she won the Giro d'Italia Femminile. She was the 2006 national time trial champion, and in 1999 she won the Worlds' road race and finished third in the time trial. Pucinskaite was also in the Olympics in Athens, where she finished ninth in the road race and 10th in the time trial.

11:37 CST   
It may be dry today, but it is foggy or misty or whatever. No wind, though.

11:38 CST   
Here goes Emma Pooley, 25, of Great Britain, who finished 23rd in Sunday's road race, doing a lot to help team-mate Nicole Cooke take the win. This season she won the Trofeo Alfredo Binda and the Tour de Bretagne Feminin for her Swiss Team Specialized Designs for Women. Last year she was 10th in the Worlds' road race and 8th in the time trial in Stuttgart. When she's not on the bike, she's working on her PhD. in soil engineering.

11:40 CST   
34 year-old Maryline Salvetat can look back at a long list of successes. The French woman was national U-19 road champion in 1991 and 1992, and national time trial champion in 2007. But she is not just a "roadie" --she has made her mark in the cyclo-cross world, too. She won the French national title in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2007, adding the World title to her collection in 2007.

She is on her way now, with a significant wobble as she starts down the ramp.

11:42 CST   
Emma Johannsson of Sweden, who is now underway, already has one Olympic medal, having finished second in the road race. The 24 year-old rides for the Dutch AA-Drink Cycling Team. She has won two races this year, in Laarne and Burcht. She also won the Swedish national time trial and finished second in the national road race.

11:44 CST   
Another Chinese rider is underway, to the cheers of the sparse crowd. Gao Min, 26, started her career with the Chinese Hebei Provincial Cycling Team in 1998 before joining the national Chinese team in 2003. This year she has won the Asian road racing title. She finished 16th in Sunday's road race.

11:46 CST   
Our next starter is Karin Thürig, 36, another multi-talent. She has won the Swiss national time trial title five times, and the world title twice. Thürig, whose sister Andrea is also a pro cyclist, has also won four Ironman Triathlons and in 2001 and 2002 she was world champion in Duathlon.

11:48 CST   
Marianne Vos of the Netherlands is only 21 but her list of successes would fill up several pages. This year she has a World Track title to her credit, and last year she had 12 victories on her way to winning the women's World Cup. Oh yes, and she finished second in the World's road race, too, a race she won in 2006, her first year out of juniors. She also won the world cyclo-cross title that year. Vos rides for Team DSB Bank.

She is now on the road, looking for a medal.

11:50 CST   
The next rider has excellent experience with Olympic time trials. Zulfiya Zabirova wears the now-familiar turquoise and yellow of Kazakhstan. She was born in Usbekistan but in 2005 took on Kazakhi citizenship. She is another one with good credentials for this race: she won the Olympic time trial in Atlanta in 1996, and was World time trial champion in 2002. Zabirova, who rides for the Bigla Cycling Team, finished tenth in the road race over the weekend.

Vos on the track
Photo ©: John Pierce
(Click for larger image)

11:52 CST   
And the next one has gone down the ramp. Linda Villumsen, 23, of Denmark, is a double national champion. She took both national titles this summer. She turned pro in 2005 with the Buitenpooort-Flexpoint Team before joining T-Mobile, later High Road, later Team Columbia, in 2007.

11:54 CST   
The next rider was bitterly disappointed at the outcome of the road race. Judith Arndt, 32, is in her fourth Olympics and is looking for her third medal. She won bronze on the track in 1996 and silver on the road in Athens, 2000. She is another rider who has won just about everything there is to win, including the World road title in 2004 and numerous national championship titles. She joined T-Mobile, now Team Columbia, in 2006. This year Arndt has won the World Cup race in Montreal, and the overall title in the following Le Tour de Grand Montreal, including three of the five stages. Last month she took the overall title in the Thüringen Rundfahrt.

11:55 CST   
We have our first intermediate time: at 10.8 km, it is 23.36 for Wrubleski.

11:56 CST   
And 21.51 for Boyarskaya. We don't know what happened to the Chinese rider.

11:57 CST   
Arndt goes off early today but she has a strong time trialing background. A former world champion, and with a stack of national titles under her belt, she could be an early pace-setter for the final riders to use as a marker.

11:57 CST   
The Chinese rider Meng has already fallen severely back, at 24.53.

11:59 CST   
And the "Grand Old Lady" is underway. Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli isn't showing signs of slowing down at the advanced age of 49. The Frenchwoman is in her seventh Olympic Games, having won gold (1996) and silver (1992) on the road and silver (1996) and bronze (2000) in the time trial. She has won the World road title five times and the time trial four times, and has won the French national road title 15 times and the time trial 7 times -- including winning both national titles this year. And that doesn't even scratch the surface....

11:59 CST   
Before Longo went off, we must have missed one. Tatiana Guderzo is a 23 year-old Italian. In 2002 she finished second in the World junior time trial, and she took the national time trial title in both 2005, 2007 and 2008. She also finished third on Sunday in the road race for the country's second cycling medal in this Olympics, following Davide Rebellin's silver in the men's road race.

12:00 CST   
Another experienced rider takes to the course. Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel, 32, rides for the Flexpoint team. The Dutch woman is in her second Olympics, having finished sixth in the road race in 2004. Melchers-Van Poppel has won many races and stages over her 11-year career. This year she won the team time trial in the Tour de l'Aude, and the prologue in the Giro d'Italia Femminile.

12:01 CST   
Pooley sets a new best time, with 20.46.

12:01 CST   
That is over one minute faster than Boyarskaya.

12:02 CST   
Here is the second Swiss rider. Priska Doppmann, 37, of Switzerland, rides for the Cervélo Lifeforce team. This summer she won the second stage of the Thüringen Rundfahrt, which gave her the leader's jersey for a day. She followed that up by helping her team win the Open de Suede Vargard team time trial. She finished 7th in the Olympic road race.

12:03 CST   
22.33 for Salvetat and 23.04 for Pucinskaite at the intermediate check.

12:04 CST   
Oenone Wood is Australia's only entry in the race. The 27 year-old is reigning national road champion, and has three stage wins to her credit this year, riding for Team Columbia Women. She is now out there in her yellow and green Australian kit.

12:05 CST   
23.04 for Johansson at the time check.

12:06 CST   
And Gao of China comes through at 22.08.

12:08 CST   
Thürig is second at the time check, 21.22.

12:08 CST   
Kristen Armstrong (no relation to you-know-who) has good chances to bring the USA a medal. She is the 2006 World champion in time trial and has won the US national time trial title three times. Riding for Cervélo Lifeforce, she has a number of victories this year, including the overall titles in the Tour of New Zealand, Nature Valley Grand Prix and Cascade Classic. Armstrong just turned 35 years old on Monday.

12:09 CST   
We have our first finisher! Wrubleski comes in at 39.15.42.

12:10 CST   
We missed another starter, before Armstrong. Marta Vilajosana is a 32 year-old Spaniard who rides for Cmax-Dila. She is a time trial specialist who has four time finished third in the nationals, and in 2007, she finished second in both the national road race and time trial.

12:11 CST   
Susanne Ljungskog, 32, of Sweden, is a six-time national champion, winning both road and time trial titles, and also won the World road title in 2002 and 2003. She started out this season with Menikini-Selle Italia, where she won the Berner Rundfahrt World Cup race and the Tour de l'Aude. The end of June she moved to Team Flexpoint.

12:11 CST   
A new best time for Boyarskaya, of 37.14.65.

12:12 CST   
The next off is Christiane Soeder, 33, who was born in Germany but later became an Austrian citizen. She has won three national time trial titles and two on the road. She has a number of wins this season, including the Grande Boucle, for her Cervélo Lifeforce team, and finished fourth in the Olympic road race. By the way, be sure to call her Dr. Soeder -- she is a medical doctor.

12:14 CST   
Pooley powers her way across the line in 35.16 -- a fantastic time.

Meng came in about four minutes down, at 40.51.

12:15 CST   
38.55 for Pucinskaite.

12:16 CST   
Nicole Cooke -- this name sounds familiar to us, where have we heard it before? Oh yes, Sunday, the Olympic Road Race.... The British cyclist has also won the national road title nine times, including the last eight years in a row. Cooke rides for a new British team, Halfords Bike Hut.

Christine Thorburn (USA)
Photo ©: Cyclingnews.com
(Click for larger image)

12:16 CST   
The next-to-last is underway. Christine Thorburn, USA, is another medical doctor, specializing in rheumatology. The 38 year-old finished fourth in the 2004 Olympic time trial. She rides for Webcor Builders and hasn't had the results this year that she might have hoped for. She had some bad luck earlier this year, with a big crash breaking three of her ribs and setting her training back.

12:19 CST   
Hanka Kupfernagel, 34, is Germany's all-round wonder. She is reigning World champion in time trial and cyclo-cross, and current German champion in radcross, time trial and cross-country MTB. Whew! If that's not enough, Kupfernagel also won a silver medal in the Sydney Olympics road race in 2000.

And she is the last one -- now we can watch them all and wait for our winner!

12:20 CST   
Longo has gone through the intermediate time check in second place, only 23 seconds slower than Pooley. Will she be able to keep that speed and take yet another medal?

12:21 CST   
Gao comes in at 37.16, not bad at all.

12:22 CST   
Thürig is 35.50.99, currently second.

12:24 CST   
Arndt was 21.46 at the intermediate time check, and Doppmann was 21.47.

12:25 CST   
Vos comes over the finish line at 36.57.

12:26 CST   
Let's take a look back at who won last time out. That would be Athens, 2004, and the gold went to Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel of the Netherlands, silver to Dede Barry of the USA and bronze to Karin Thürig of Switzerland, the only one of the three in today's race.

12:27 CST   
36.29 is the time for Zabirova of Kazakhstan.

12:29 CST   
Villumsen is the next across the line, with a good time of 36.50.

12:30 CST   
Arndt is now in third place, at 35.59.77.

12:31 CST   
Oddly enough, the 1996 Atlanta race -- 12 years ago! -- has two starters in today's race. Zulfia Zabirova won gold for Russia, and will start today for Kazakhstan. Silver went to Longo-Ciprelli, also riding today, and bronze was won by Canada's Clara Hughes.

12:31 CST   
Armstrong has now passed the woman who started in front of her, the Spaniard Vilajosana.

12:32 CST   
We have only 12 riders on the road now. The Italian Guderzo comes in at 36.37 -- so make that 11 on the road!

12:34 CST   
The next to come in will be the legendary Jeannie Longo.

Now almost 50, she's competed in an astonishing seven Olympic games, and has medalled in four of those - from Barcelona in 1992 to Sydney in 2000. Her first Olympics were way back in Los Angeles in 1984.

Bronze 2000 Sydney Road time trial
Gold 1996 Atlanta Road cycling
Silver 1996 Atlanta Road time trial
Silver 1992 Barcelona Road cycling

Don't bet on her missing in London in 2012. The grandmother of cycling as she's affectionately known, hasn't ruled out competing at the Olympics aged 53.

12:35 CST   
And Longo is in, currently second at 35.52.

12:35 CST   
Ten to go now. Will any of them crack Pooley's time, or will Great Britain take both of the women's gold medals?

12:37 CST   
It looks like Cooke will have to settle for just one gold medal. She was 22.36 at the intermediate check.

12:38 CST   
Melchers-Van Poppel comes in as 11th at 37.51.

12:39 CST   
Doppmann brings in a time of 36,27.

12:39 CST   
Only eight riders still underway, but of course those are big names.

12:40 CST   
Only the 16th best time at the intermediate check for Kupfernagel, 22.16.

12:42 CST   
Pooley is sitting in front of a fan and drinking cooled water at the finish -- but she doesn't look terribly relaxed quite yet.

12:42 CST   
Armstrong has caught Wood, who started 4 minutes ahead of her. She could endanger Pooley.

12:43 CST   
We have a new leader! Armstrong is first at 34.51.72. That should be the final decision.

12:46 CST   
There are still five riders to come in, Ljungskog is the next to cross the finish line, but she won't get a medal.

12:47 CST   
36.33 for the Swedish rider.

12:48 CST   
Soeder is nearing the finish line, and misses out on the podium, with a time of 36.20.

12:49 CST   
Three to go! Will any of them win a medal?

12:50 CST   
Thorburn passes through the now-familiar toll station -- without paying, of course!

12:50 CST   
Cooke will have to settle for one gold medal, she won't even make the top ten today.

12:51 CST   
37.14 for Cooke in the time trial. But we think she is happy with her Olympics!

12:52 CST   
Thorburn comes in at 35.54, fourth place. She did her best but couldn't top her fellow USA rider.

12:53 CST   
Now we only have to wait for Kupfernagel.

12:54 CST   
The German has a problem with her gears. That throws her back even further.

12:54 CST   
36.15 for Kupfernagel.

12:56 CST   
An American named Armstrong on the time trial podium! But this time it is a woman.

Kristin Armstrong takes the gold, with silver for Emma Pooley of Great Britain, and bronze for Switzerland's Karin Thürig.

12:57 CST   
That was it for the women's road racing in the Beijing Olympics! Be sure to join us again shortly for the men's time trial.

Provisional results

1 Kristin Armstrong (USA)                      0.34.51 (40.459 km/h)
2 Emma Pooley (Great Britain)                  0.35.16
3 Karin Thurig (Switzerland)                   0.35.50
4 Jeannie Longo-ciprelli (France)              0.35.52
5 Christine Thorburn (USA)                     0.35.54
6 Judith Arndt (Germany)                       0.35.59
7 Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden)                   0.36.20
8 Christiane Soeder (Austria)                  0.36.20
9 Priska Doppmann (Switzerland)                0.36.27
10 Zulfiya Zabirova (Kazakhstan)               0.36.29

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