Tyler Hamilton of the United States won the gold medal in the cycling time trial, becoming the second rider from the United States to medal
Earlier, Dede Barry of the United States won the silver medal in the women's road time trial, the first cycling medal claimed by an American in these
Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel of the Netherlands, who suffered hip and shoulder injuries in a fall late in Sunday's road race, successfully defended
her gold medal by covering the 14.9-mile course in 31 minutes, 11.53 seconds.
Barry was 24.09 seconds back. Switzerland's Karin Thuerig won the bronze, edging fourth-place finisher Christine Thorburn of the United States by
"I'm ecstatic,'' said Barry, an alternate on the 1996 and 2000 Olympic teams. "The last 10 minutes, waiting to see what would happen, were a little
stressful. But I'm so happy. Everything worked out. It's such a great feeling.''
Barry was 15 seconds faster at the race's midway point than any of the riders who went out before her, a sizable margin considering the top-ranked
time trialer in the world -- Mirjam Melchers of the Netherlands -- was among those who preceded Barry onto the course.
Only van Moorsel, the best women's cyclist in the world, was up to Barry's challenge.
"Anytime van Moorsel gets on her time trial bike, she's the favorite,'' U.S. women's road cycling coach Jim Miller said.
Barry -- who had several Greek cousins in the finish area, including some she had never before met -- matched the silver won by Mari Holden in the
Sydney time trial four years ago. It's only the fourth road medal ever won by an American woman's Olympic cyclist.
"I had great legs out there,'' Barry said. "I had a lot of confidence going in. My preparation was really good. For me, this is a dream come true. I
just tried to attack today and have the best ride I could. I'm so happy to have come out with a medal.''
Doctors originally thought van Moorsel's Olympic quest -- she won three golds in Sydney and sought to defend all three in Athens -- ended in the
Sunday crash where she clipped the wheel of another rider and fell hard to the pavement.
"After my crash, I thought it was over,'' van Moorsel said. "I didn't want to end my career in a bad way.''
She didn't. With her trademark strong finish Wednesday, she easily overcame Barry's split times and won her fourth career gold. She'll try for a fifth
Saturday at the velodrome in the women's individual pursuit, which she says will be her last race.
Riders went off at 90-second intervals, with those expected to be the strongest medal contenders starting toward the end of the 25-woman pack.
Thorburn was the eighth woman to start; Barry went off 16th.
Thorburn -- who earned her Olympic spot by winning the U.S. national time trial championship in June -- had the eighth-best split in the field at the
halfway point, and just kept getting stronger as the race went along.
"I'm happy with my effort,'' Thorburn said. "It was pretty warm, but there was a little breeze. That helped a little bit.''
The 29.8-mile men's time trial was later Wednesday, with American medal hopefuls Tyler Hamilton and Bobby Julich in the field along with defending
gold medalist Viatcheslav Ekimov of Russia and this year's gold favorite, Jan Ullrich of Germany.
Neither gold medalist from the men's and women's road races -- Italy's Paolo Bettini and Australia's Sara Carrigan -- entered the time trial fields,
though Bettini certainly would have been a medal contender.