Lisa Brennauer

Kristin Armstrong just misses podium, Olympic spot in World Championships comeback

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Two-time Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong finished fifth in the World Road Cycling Championships time trial in Richmond, Va., on Tuesday, in her biggest race since the London Olympics.

Armstrong, a 42-year-old mother, retired after repeating as Olympic time trial champion in 2012 and becoming the first U.S. woman to earn multiple Olympic cycling gold medals.

She unretired (for the second time in her career) earlier this year.

In Richmond, Armstrong finished fifth in 40 minutes, 50.45 seconds, which was 20.58 seconds slower than New Zealand winner Linda Villumsen on the 19-mile course. The Netherlands’ Anna van der Breggen took silver, with German Lisa Brennauer capturing bronze after winning the title last year.

Armstrong was the top American, six seconds faster than Evelyn Stevens, who took sixth after earning bronze last year.

Armstrong was the second starter of 44 in Richmond. She posted the fastest time early in the afternoon and then waited about two hours before somebody posted a faster time.

A top-three finish would have clinched a 2016 Olympic spot for any American. They can still earn spots on the team for the Rio Games at a later date.

Also Tuesday, three-time Czech Republic Olympic speed skating champion Martina Sablikova finished 12th for the second straight year. Sablikova qualified for the Rio Olympics, according to Czech media.

The World Road Cycling Championships continue Wednesday with the men’s time trial, featuring 2012 Olympic fourth-place finisher Taylor Phinney. Universal Sports (12:30-2 p.m. ET), NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra (2-4 p.m.) will have coverage.

MORE: World Road Cycling Championships broadcast schedule

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