Thursday 2 August 2012

Olympics Time Trials Photos

Every British fan - and a fair few from elsewhere, such is the Olympic spirit and her popularity - wanted to see Emma Pooley take a gold medal, but those who have followed her career knew that she was absolutely right when she said the parcours was not right for her: she's a tiny, lightweight climber able to do well in a hilly TT, while this one was flat. Nevertheless, 6th (+1'02.88") was a very respectable result. Fellow Brit Lizzie Armitstead was 10th (+1'51.42").
Olga Zabelinskaya was tenth from the 24 riders to leave the start ramp, but set a superb time of 37'57.45" to lead the event in its early stages. It would be beaten - but by only two riders, earning the 32-year-old Russian a second bronze medal to add to the one she won in the Road Race. "This is the greatest achievement of my career," she said.
South Africa's Ashleigh Moolman was fourth down the ramp and recorded the slowest time, 4'48.75". The fact that she had to ride at a blisteringly fast pace to do so is indication of the extremely high levels of performance and competition found at the upper levels of women's cycling - easily equal to men's cycling.
Tatiana Antoshina (Russia) was the sixth rider to go and recorded the 12th best time, 2'37.67" behind the winner.
Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands), National TT Champion in 2007, took 8th place with a time 1'18.26" slower than the winner.
Marianne Vos had a most uncharacteristic off-day, coming 16th overall and 3'05" behind overall winner Armstrong. Her immediate reaction after the race was a vow never to ride a time trial ever again, which immediately resulted in countless fans telling that these occasional indications that she is in fact human after all, rather than a cycling cyborg sent from the future to show us all how a race should be ridden, are one of the things that make us all love her so much. And anyway, Vos had already stood on 40 podiums so far this year - so who cares about this one race, in a discipline she freely confesses is far from her speciality?
American 38-year-old defending champion Kristin Armstrong's gold medal-winning time of 37'34.82" is a superb reminder that female athletes remain competitive in endurance sports for longer than their male counterparts - and that, therefore, being 35+ is absolutely no reason whatsoever for a woman not to take up cycling at any level (Armstrong was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in 2001, too). Her performance was without doubt the highlight of the race and, many will argue, surpassed that of men's winner Bradley Wiggins: 1.51" ahead at the first time check, she just kept on getting faster and faster - by the second check she was 4.89" ahead and she ended up beating Cyclopunk favourite Judith Arndt by 15.47". She was accompanied on the podium by her son Lucas William, who will be two in September.
The USA's Amber Neben was the 7th from last to go and also finished in 7th place, recording a time 1'10.35" slower than Armstrong.
Shara Gillow (Australia) was 14th to go and finished in 13th place, 2'50.21" behind Armstrong.
Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), defending champion and, in the opinion of many, the greatest male time trial rider of all time, was something of an unknown quantity in this race. At his best, Cancellara is one of the most impressive sights cycling has to offer, but it's no secret that the quadruple fracture to the collarbone at the Ronde van Vlaanderen earlier this year and a nasty crash in the Road Race on Sunday have not left him with the greatest form of his career. Yet still he rode a tough race and came seventh, 2'14.17" slower than Bradley Wiggins, before collapsing in obvious agony after crossing the finish line.
Tony Martin (Germany) is current World TT Champion, but like Cancellara has struggled to regain his usual form after an accident earlier this year (he was hit by a car whilst on a training ride and sustained numerous injuries). His silver medal and time just 42" slower than Wiggins is proof of just how good he is.
The man himself: Bradley Wiggins. Only a week and a half since his historic Tour de France victory, Wiggo came, saw and conquered with a recorded time of 50'39.54" - another boost for cycling in Britain, where it's now more popular than in France if the crowds that gathered to see him are anything to go on. "[He] was unbeatable today," Tony Martin said after the race. 6.8 million people in Britain watched Wiggo win on TV compared to the "mere" 5.5 million who watched Team GB in the football: cycling is our new national sport.
Assan Basayev (Kazakhstan) was 7th off the ramp and finished 7th from last with a time 6'01.23" slower than Wiggins. It was notable that all riders, regardless of the nation they represent, were treated to enormous cheers around the entire parcours; Britain is in love with cycling, not just Wiggo.
The enormously popular Fumiyuki Beppu was the only Japanese rider in the TT and one of only two in the Road Race - and, of course, one of the very few to have made a name for himself in cycling's European heartlands. He recorded the 24th fastest time, 5'01.10" slower than Wiggins.
All photos are copyright of Chris Davies Photography and used here with permission. For Davies' extremely generous reuse terms and more photos from the Women's TT click here, for the men click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment