Olympics: Armstrong bags cycling gold as Phelps returns to pool

Kristin Armstrong celebrates with her son after winning the women's individual time trial event.
Kristin Armstrong celebrates with her son after winning the women's individual time trial event.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Veteran US cyclist Kristin Armstrong completed a remarkable Olympic hat-trick on Wednesday (Aug 10) as Michael Phelps headed back to the pool in his bid to add to his remarkable 21 golds.

With rain and strong winds lashing Rio, Armstrong, who turns 43 on Thursday, produced a courageous display in treacherous conditions to claim her third consecutive women's time trial gold medal.

The grim weather - which forced the cancellation of the day's rowing regatta and delayed the start of the tennis - proved no obstacle for Armstrong as she completed the challenging road course in 44min 26.42sec.

Her victory spared the blushes of organisers, relegating drug-tainted Russian cyclist Olga Zabelinskaya - who only returned from a doping ban last year - into silver.

"I don't have words to describe it. When you've already been two times at the pinnacle of the sport, why risk coming back for the gold medal? The best answer I can give is that I can," said Armstrong, who retired after each of her two previous Olympic successes, only to come back in search of more glory.

"Today, the stars aligned," she said.

Armstrong's win launched a busy fifth full day of action where 20 gold medals will be shared out. Tour de France winner Chris Froome of Great Britain is chasing victory in the men's time trial.

Phelps will head back into the pool a day after a spellbinding display which took his astonishing gold medal tally to 21 with wins in the 200m freestyle relay and 200m butterfly.

Phelps returns for for the heats and semi-finals of the 200m individual medley. If he comes through, he will compete in Thursday's final.

Another US swim phenomenon Katie Ledecky is back in action the day after she secured her second gold of the Games in the women's 200m freestyle.

Ledecky is part of the USA's 4x200m freestyle squad which also features Allison Schmitte and Missy Franklin who won gold in London.

Brazil's struggling football stars will capture the hosts' attention as Barcelona's Neymar attempts to finally kickstart their campaign for a first football gold after being booed off in back-to-back goalless draws with South Africa and Iraq.

Defeat against Denmark in Salvador would represent a disaster for Brazil, still nursing the scars from their humiliating 7-1 drubbing by Germany in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup on home soil.

Gymnastics continues with the star turn undoubtedly Japan's Kohei Uchimura. The 27-year-old is seeking to follow up his individual all-round gold won in London.

In tennis, 2012 champion Andy Murray headlines a depleted field against Italian Fabio Fognini following the shock exits of world number ones Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.

Meanwhile, games organisers said an attack on a bus carrying journalists on Tuesday which left three people injured on an "act of vandalism".

Rio 2016 security chief Luiz Fernando Correa said the attackers used stones, contradicting accounts by witnesses who said shots had been fired at the vehicle.

"We think it's an act of vandalism rather than a criminal act with the intention of injuring someone," Correa said.

Correa defended security along the bus route and said it would be "impossible" to provide complete protection.

"It would be humanly impossible to exclude a person within range of throwing," Correa said.