The Women’s Individual Time Trial takes place on Wednesday 1 August at 12:45, over a 29km course starting and finishing at Hampton Court Palace. Representing Great Britain will be Emma Pooley and Lizzie Armitstead.
Emma Pooley is perhaps the most accomplished women’s time triallist that Great Britain has produced in the past decade.
An Olympic silver medal in Beijing in 2008 is Pooley’s career highlight to date, the 29 year old Norwich based rider has twice triumphed in the British National Time Trial Championships, in 2009 and 2010, the latter year also seeing Pooley clinch the world title in Melbourne.
Pooley’s physiology favours hilly courses, as evidenced by her strong showing in Beijing. Speaking at the road team holding camp in Surrey, Pooley admitted that the flat London 2012 course will suit larger, more powerful riders: “It’s not the ideal course for me. Obviously I can’t’ change my physiology from being small to a big powerful rider and that’s tough. I have trained for that kind of course.
“I’ll do my best and I’m quite happy with how I have been training. If I have given it everything I can’t really complain about my performance.”
Lizzie Armitstead is a lesser known quantity in terms of time trialling at an elite level, the 23 year old from Yorkshire more famous for her performances in road racing and on the track.
Armitstead is riding the Time Trial for experience and to support her teammate, as she explained in a recent press conference at the road holding camp: “I’m looking forward to riding an event without any pressure. Enjoying being pushed round by the crowd, time-trials aren’t really my forte but it is something I will probably look to work on in the future and it will be good to be in the hotel for two days and make Emma feel like she can win the gold.”
For the 29km women’s event, riders will start 90 seconds apart, on a course which begins and ends at historic Hampton Court Palace in south-west London, and will incorporate sections of Richmond, Kingston-upon-Thames and Surrey. The event is held over a single lap. There are just two time-checks on the largely flat route, the first at Walton Common and the second at Littleworth Common.
Aside from the technical aspects of the course, Pooley is keen to point out the way the TT course showcases the historic landmarks and natural beauty of the area: “Obviously I can’t say I’ll win and it is not an ideal course – I don’t need a mountain but up and down is better for me. It is still a beautiful course and it will make a great advert for cycling and the best rider will win.”
Judith Arndt is the undoubted favourite, the 36 year old German rider taking the world title in Copenhagen in 2011 and finishing behind Pooley in Melbourne in 2010. Arndt is backed up by teammate Ina-Yoko Teutenberg.
New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen is another hot favourite; bronze in the worlds in 2010, silver in 2011 and more recently taking victory in the individual time trial of the Emakumeen Bira stage race in the Basque Country in June 2012.
Reigning champion Kristen Armstrong of the USA hasn't competed since a crash in the Exergy Tour earlier in the year - however, the 38 year old American is a fierce competitor and can never be discounted. Marianne Vos of the Netherlands, though not a time trial specialist, is another veteran campaigner who will be fighting hard to add to her already unparallel multi-disciplinary palmares.
How to watch
The women’s time trial will be broadcast live on the BBC, on their red button and online services: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/2012/sports/cycling-road