Sunday, July 29, 2012

We've won a medal!

After the abject disappointment of watching Team GB fail to put Cav in a medal winning position yesterday there was joy today as Lizzie Armitstead won Britain's first medal of the 2012 Olympics. The 140km road race to Box Hill and back in possibly the worst conditions possible saw the pre-race favourite Marianne Vos win  gold for the Netherlands, Armitstead won silver with Russian Olga Zabelinskaya winning bronze.

The first 115km were fairly routine as riders battled against the conditions, the slippery roads in Surrey and each other, a game of cat and mouse dominated the early proceedings but Britain looked to have a real medal chance with Emma Pooley (who looks like she is riding a childs bike) leading the peloton. Things changed with 25km left when the Russian rider  Olga Zabelinskaya started the breakaway that would ultimately decide the race, taking Vos and Armitstead with her.

Just as with the men's race yesterday the lack of on course information regarding time splits meant a frustrating time for television viewers, television commentators (Chris Boardman and Hugh Porter) and the riders. When time gaps did appear on the screen they seemed wildly different to what we could actually see and I'm sure that this affected the tactics of the pursuing peloton as the three riders broke away.

Once clear the three leaders took it turn to lead although at one point it did seem as if Zabelinskaya had run out of energy and Vos and Armitstead appeared to be doing more than their fare share of the work. Once the three entered Richmond Park on the way home however the three took it in turns but as they appraoched Knightsbridge Armitstead seemed reluctant to go to the front and it looked for a brief while as if we were going to witness a game of chicken. Once on the Mall however Vos had the power to leave Armitstead with a final kick and she crossed the line comfortable winner.

For Armitstead however there was the consoloation of winning Team GB's first medal of these games.



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