Cancellara wins men's road time-trial
Swiss Fabian Cancellara wins gold in the Olympic men's road cycling time-trial, adding to the bronze he won in the men's road race.13 August 2008
JUYONGGUAN - Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland won gold in the Olympic men's road cycling time-trial Wednesday, adding to the bronze he took in the men's road race.
Cancellara, the two-time time-trial world champion, completed the 47.3-kilometre (29.4-mile) course in the shadow of the Great Wall in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 11.43 seconds. He finished about 33 seconds ahead of Gustav Larsson of Sweden, who rode the race of his life. Levi Leipheimer of the United States was third.
"It was a perfect day. I did everything for this day," Cancellara said.
"To be the favourite and to be still the first afterwards, that's a hard thing because you have a lot of pressure. It was a really, really tough race, and now it's a moment to enjoy and to be happy and proud that I am winning."
By the halfway point, Cancellara had already overtaken Stefan Schumacher of Germany, who had started 1½ minutes ahead of him. Schumacher was arguably his biggest rival after beating him in both Tour de France time-trials this year.
However, the unheralded Larsson rode an amazing race and at one point looked set for victory.
"I hoped for a race like this. I knew the course suited me well. I rode the race of a lifetime, but he (Cancellara) is strong," Larsson said.
The two are teammates in the professional cycling team CSC, and Cancellara said he already knew the Swede was coveting the gold - at a team dinner in the United States before the start of the season, Larsson announced it as his goal for the year.
Leipheimer said he had realised close to the end that the bronze would come down to a few seconds, and he was determined not to lose the medal.
"I was really fighting hard for that medal. I gave it everything I had in the last bit and pushed myself very hard, and it paid off and I'm very happy," he said.
Leipheimer finished eight seconds ahead of Giro champion Alberto Contador, who will leave Beijing without a medal.
As will Cadel Evans of Australia, another pre-games favourite.
"No medal, all that hard work," lamented Evans, who came in fifth.
Leipheimer and Contador both missed this year's Tour de France because their Astana team was barred because of previous doping allegations. Leipheimer said that motivated him in his Olympic training.
"I watched the Tour and it was very difficult to watch because I so badly wanted to be there," Leipheimer said.
"To sit at home in July and watch the Tour go on without me, it definitely gave me motivation to train as hard as I could. I came here knowing that I did my best with the situation I had and it gave me the peace of mind to push myself really hard."
Thirty-nine riders from 29 countries took part in Wednesday's competition. It was the last road race of the Olympics. The competition on the track starts Friday.
[AP / Expatica]
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