Netherlands' Annemiek van Vleuten finally ended her hunt for an Olympic gold as the 38-year-old triumphed in the women's time trial on Wednesday.

Van Vleuten's confusion in the road race made headlines over the weekend as she celebrated when crossing the line in second place, thinking she had won.

However, it was Anna Kiesenhofer – who is currently without a professional team – who triumphed, having forged a breakaway with 40 kilometres remaining; Van Vleuten failing to realise the Austrian had finished well ahead.

Yet Van Vleuten, who looked set to win gold in Rio only to crash out on the final approach, finally clinched the top prize, and despite her veteran status, she is determined to push for more.

"I think it will sink in tonight maybe, not at the moment," said Van Vleuten, who became the second Dutch cyclist to win the individual time trial at the Games, after Leontien van Moorsel in 2000 and 2004.

"My story started in Rio but the story has not ended yet, because I will not stop. But this is really beautiful. It makes it extra beautiful... extra beautiful."

She also insisted she never lost faith in her ability, despite her troubles.

"I knew after the road race that I was in really good shape, and no one believed. They were talking about different stuff but not about my performance, but in my heart I knew that my preparation had been optimal and that I was in really good shape here," Van Vleuten added.

"If you know that you're really close to the gold sometimes you tend to think only about the mistakes you can make on this quite technical course, about the corners, about if it starts to rain or it's slippery, or that you make a mistake.

"But I was in a good flow today and I was not thinking about mistakes. I was turning it around, like, 'Where can I gain time?'"

Van Vleuten, at the age of 38 years and 293 days, is the third-oldest women to win Olympic gold for the Netherlands.

She finished ahead of Marlen Reusser and compatriot Anna van der Breggen, who equalled Van Moorsel as the Dutch cyclist with the most Olympic medals (three).