Cycling: Armstrong finds perfect gift

Wed Aug 1, 2012 9:50am EDT
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By Julien Pretot

HAMPTON COURT, England (Reuters) - Parents often bring a toy back to their children from business trips and American Kristin Armstrong will do just that after retaining her Olympic time trial title on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old took time off after the Beijing Games to start a family but could not resist the urge to get on the bike again, coming into the Olympics hoping to give her son Lucas "something to play with".

The double time-trial world champion produced a steady performance over the 29-kilometre course to earn a seat on one of the three thrones installed to welcome the leaders near the finish line, before receiving her medal in the forecourt of Hampton Court Palace with tears in her eyes.

Lucas was there and walked away with his mother and a bouquet in his hands before getting hold of the medal.

"Today I didn't know until I crossed the finish line. People try to tell you are on track, but out on the course today, the information I was getting was that it was a close race. I just needed to give it everything if I really wanted it," said Armstrong, who like silver medalist Judith Arndt will definitely not be at the Rio Games in 2016.

"I'm sure I won't race in Rio, I'd rather come back as a mentor," she told Reuters.

"The last 20 months have been a roller coaster. It was not easy. I want to be an inspiration for all the moms out there."

German Arndt, 36, told Reuters: "I always hope. When you race you want to win but yes I was kind of expecting Kristin to win.   Continued...

Kristin Armstrong of the U.S. waits to start in the women's cycling individual time trial at the London 2012 Olympic Games August 1, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch