USA Women Take First Ever Gold
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Mar 4, 2016 – The USA completed a dominant performance throughout all three rounds to win the women’s team pursuit at the track World Championships in London on Friday, the nation’s first ever world medal in a team pursuit.
The quartet of veteran Sarah Hammer, Kelly Catlin, Chloe Dygert and Jennifer Valente easily defeated Canada in the final after posting the quickest times throughout two rounds of qualifying, including twice breaking their national record. The second of their three rides, in which they recorded 4 minutes 14.806 seconds, was the fastest time of the competition for the 4km and, while they slowed in the final, their ride of 4:16.802 was still nearly three seconds faster than Canada.
“I’ve been waiting my whole career to get a world championship with a team,” said Hammer, 32, who has won five individual pursuit and two omnium titles at previous championships.
“For some of the girls, it’s the start of their careers but it’s the winding down of mine. It’s the first medal ever for the USA in the men’s or women’s team pursuit so it’s a very special night for us. “This is a special group and you don’t do what we did this week without being a special group.
We’re a team in every sense of the word.” The emphatic USA success was largely unexpected, although rivals Canada knew that their fellow North Americans had improved greatly in recent months. “We race the Americans a lot,” said Canada’s Allison Beveridge. “We always knew they were strong over 2km and really strong over 3km, so if they could put it together, they could definitely be a team to contend with.
“The way they got it right this week was still a bit of a shock all the same. We just tried to ride our own races and while it’s disappointing, the Olympics have always been our goal. Credit to the Americans, though, they put together three really strong rides.” Reigning Olympic champions Great Britain, who surprisingly only finished fifth in qualifying, recovered to take bronze against New Zealand, having set a new national record in their semi-final and riding faster than the USA in their final ride with a time of 4:16.540. “It’s definitely satisfying,” said British star Laura Trott.
“It was about putting a good time in after yesterday and the disappointment of finishing fifth. “Our old national record was set at altitude so to beat it twice here was great. It felt like we rode round as a team today and though we didn’t win, we set our stall out and put our foot back in the door for Rio.”