Kristin Armstrong was the most active American rider through the first half of the 87.6-mile race, but didn’t finish Sunday on a slick women’s road course at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Armstrong dominated early for Team USA, but was only supposed to help teammates win a medal. She faded late, per team strategy, in a race that was marred by a late, nasty crash involving Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands), who was leading at the time of the solo mishap.
Sixty-eight riders started the race, and official Olympic results listed the top 50 finishers, plus two riders who finished over the time limit. Sixteen riders did not finish the race, according to Rio results, including Armstrong.
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Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) won gold in a final sprint, followed by Emma Johansson (Sweden) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy).
Mara Abbott, of Boulder, Colo., attacked the final summit and led in the final mile, but was passed in the final sprint and finished fourth as the top American, followed by Megan Guarnier (11th) and Evelyn Stevens (12th).
The United States hasn’t medaled in the women’s road race since 1984.
Armstrong, who turns 43 on Thursday, now turns her attention to the time trial, which starts at 5:30 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Wednesday in Rio. Armstrong is the two-time Olympic gold medalist and it's a race she totally expects to win, she told the Idaho Statesman.
Armstrong will be challenged by van der Breggen, also a strong medal contender in the time trial.
This was Armstrong’s fourth appearance in the Olympic road race: 2004 Athens (eighth), 2008 Beijing (25th) and 2012 London (35th).