Although Armstrong won the short 6.6km uphill time trial last weekend at the San Dimas Stage Race, she said considered Friday's race on the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour as her first real race against the clock this season, and she was happy with the result.
"Yeah, definitely," she said when asked if she was pleased with the performance that saw her cover the 11.4km out-and-back course in 16:54.
"This is the first time trial of the year for me, and this is a big year," she said. "It's important with my team protecting me here at Redlands to try to gain that time back that I lost yesterday because I feel that my team is 100 percent behind me, but also not just looking at Redlands but looking forward and looking towards Rio."
Armstrong, who won Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012, was named to USA Cycling's long list for one of four sports on the Olympic road team. Two riders will compete in both the time trial and road race, and Armstrong clearly wants to be one of them.
"We're in a year where every time trial counts," she said after Friday's race. "Every race against the clock, short or long, I have to show up. And so this was a little bit of everything for me today. It was for the team, it was for the selection criteria in June, and I really want to make a strong campaign this spring to show that I'm the right person to go to Rio."
Armstrong beat 2008 UCI time trial world champion Amber Neben, who is also on the USA Cycling long list for Rio, by 22 seconds on Friday and Canadian Jasmin Glaesser by 24. Mara Abbott, another rider on the Rio long list, finished more than a minute behind Neben, but she is more likely to get selected for the road race if she is among USA Cycling's picks.
Although most of the riders on the long list are competing in Europe and not at Redlands, Armstrong said the performance in California gave her a confidence boost going into the rest of the season.
"I think that yesterday, climbing within 30 seconds of Mara, that was a huge confidence builder as well," she said. "But with my specialty the time trial, which is my number one focus, this is a huge confidence builder, and so I look to the next time trial at [Tour of the] Gila, and then post that is the national championships, so it’s game on."
USA Cycling women’s road long team:
Mara Abbott (Wiggle High5)
Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-RideBiker)
Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team)
Amber Neben (Dare to be Project)
Shelley Olds (Cylance Pro Cycling)
Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare)
Carmen Small (Bigla Pro Cycling Team)
Lauren Stephens (Team TIBCO-SVB)
Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team)
Tayler Wiles (Orica-AIS)
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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.
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