Boise’s Kristin Armstrong wins key cycling race toward Olympic berth

Kristin Armstrong's hopes to win a third straight Olympic gold medal were boosted Saturday in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The Boise resident won the USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championship in a record time, covering the 19.2-mile course in 42 minutes, 8 seconds. It clinches her a spot as one of three American women to compete in the world championship time trial on Sept. 22 in Richmond, Va., where she could clinch a 2016 Olympic berth.

Armstrong won gold in the time trial in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London. She retired after both, only to return to competition. In April, the 41-year-old Armstrong announced she was coming back again.

Initially, Armstrong was to compete in the Pan-American Continental Road Championships earlier this month in Mexico, but was unselected by USA Cycling. She then had to take a less direct route, finishing third in her return race last week in California before Saturday's key race in Tennessee.

“It’s been hard,” Armstrong told VeloNews. “I’ve been into the depths of the politics and nothing has been handed to me. I earned it today and I’m on the top step. I had to stay focused and not let people get me down.”

“I look at this as the next step. Now I go to Richmond and hopefully then to Rio,” Armstrong added.