After the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, at which she won two silver medals, eight-time cycling world champion Sarah Hammer contemplated retirement. Rather than hanging up her bike, she decided to switch events, focusing on mass start rather than against-the-clock races.
At her first UCI Track Cycling World Championships with this new focus, Hammer didn't miss a beat. She earned silver in the women's points race, her first world medal in the event, with 51 points. She battled Elinor Barker of Great Britain throughout the race, trailing after the fourth sprint but gaining a lap on the penultimate sprint to take the lead. But Barker regained the lead with four laps to go and didn't relinquish it, earning a total of 59 points to take gold. Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands earned 35 points to take bronze.
"Hammer demonstrated why she is the champion she is," said Jim Miller, USA Cycling Vice President of Athletics. "What an amazingly gritty performance."
For Hammer, the medal is her 15th won at a world championship. She has five world titles in the individual pursuit, two in the omnium and one in the team pursuit. She has two individual pursuit silver medals and one each in the team pursuit, omnium and now the points race. Her two bronzes came in the omnium.
Earlier in the week at the world championships, Hammer had competed in the omnium, which has transitioned to a mass start race, placing fifth, and raced to a fourth-place finish in her debut in the scratch race.
Hammer's silver caps a four-medal performance for U.S. women at worlds. Chloe Dygert and Kelly Catlin earned gold and bronze, respectively, in the individual pursuit after teaming with Jennifer Valente and Kim Geist for team pursuit gold.