Trek: Trek At The Olympics: Part Two

2008/08/10

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Day 2

Before the start of the women’s race, many riders were seen wearing ice vest to keep their core temperature cool, but about 35km into the race it was clear they would be unnecessary.  At that point the skies opened up and torrential downpours ensued.  Todd McKean, Trek China General Manager, rode in the US women’s team car and had a front row seat for the race.  With about 10-15km to the BaDaLing circuits the race was essentially together.  However, the rain made the course treacherous and very soon the first crash occurred.  Top American hopeful, Kristin Armstrong went down in the crash, but was much better off than one Korean rider who ended up wedged in a drainage ditch.  After struggling to get out of the ditch she chased, but was unsuccessful in reintegrating to the bunch. 

While the men’s race the day before had 7 circuits to look forward to, the women only had 2, which made the race much more controlled from the start.  Entering the first circuit there was one woman from Russia off the front with a little over a minute.  Christine Thornburn rode hard at the front to close the gap and bring things back together.  She was successful in doing this and before the top of the first circuit climb, the bunch was all back together.  Starting up the climb on the second and final circuit, USA Women’s Coach Jim Miller was planning to put Amber Neben on the front to break things up and set up Kristin Armstrong for an attack, but unfortunately Amber dropped her chain and lost significant time.  Kristin subsequently had to control things herself and was gapped slightly just near the top.  She fought back to the group, but unfortunately the winning move had already gone up the road and she was unable to get away.  It was a very disappointing day, but like they say…”that’s racing.”