Olympics

Kristin Armstrong left with swollen elbow, cut after crashing in Olympic road race

USA Cycling expects Armstrong will be fine by Wednesday's individual time trial

LONDON (VN) — American Kristin Armstrong, a two-time world time trial champion and the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the discipline, was rattled but optimistic after a crash in the women’s Olympic road race Saturday left her with swelling and a nasty cut on her left elbow.

Armstrong, who started the day with the unlucky number 13 pinned upside down on her jersey, crashed with several riders on the second circuit of Box Hill with around 50km remaining.

It was a legitimate scare for the American, who crashed and broke her collarbone on May 24 at the Exergy Tour prologue in her hometown of Boise, Idaho.

Prior to that injury, Armstrong had dominated the May 2-6 SRAM Tour of the Gila in Silver City, New Mexico, winning three road stages, the individual time trial and the overall classification.

Armstrong had her collarbone surgically repaired on May 25, and returned to racing at the July 17-22 Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, Oregon, winning the prologue, stage 1 road race and stage 2 time trial before pulling out — though she admitted last week that she’d rushed her recovery.

On Friday she told the media that her doctor’s advice had been: “Just be careful. Don’t fall.”

That was easier said than done on Sunday, however, as heavy wind and rain left the Olympic road course both slippery and littered with debris.

“I can’t feel it right now,” Armstrong said of her bloody and swollen elbow at the finish line. “It looks pretty swollen. This is the first time I’ve looked at it. I’ll get it checked out.”

Being able to rest one’s weight on the elbows obviously plays an important role in aerodynamic positioning during a time trial. But USA Cycling director of communications Andrea Smith told VeloNews.com that Armstrong was expected to be fine by Wednesday’s race of truth.