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U.S. Women's Cycling Team Wins First-Ever World Championship In Team Pursuit

By Associated Press | March 04, 2016, 4:21 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) Sarah Hammer, Jennifer Valente, Chloe Dygert and Kelly Catlin celebrate their gold medal after winning the women's team pursuit at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships at Lee Valley Velopark Velodrome on March 4, 2016 in London.

LONDON -- The United States won its first medal of the track cycling world championships on Friday, beating Canada to take gold in the women's team pursuit.

The quartet of Sarah Hammer, Kelly Catlin, Chloe Dygert and Jennifer Valente led from start to finish to cross the line in 4 minutes, 16.802 seconds.

"It's my eighth world title but my first team title, I have been waiting my whole career to get a team title," Hammer said. "Being a world champion is great but doing it in a team, there is nothing like that. No one is on the track by themselves, there is someone in front of you, there is someone behind you, we are all one unit working together."

Hammer was almost lost to the sport, quitting in 2003 with burnout before being inspired to return by watching her former teammates at the Athens Olympics.

In 2006, she won her first world medal with gold in the individual pursuit in Bordeaux, France.

Ten years on and her medal at Lee Valley VeloPark - the scene of her two Olympic silvers in 2012 - was her 13th at a world championships.

Rio de Janeiro will be her third Olympics but she is uncertain of what the future holds after that.

"I am not sure but I am not going to go for that much longer and that is a cool thing.

"These girls are starting their careers and I get to be a part of that which is pretty special. This is great and we are going to relish this but we want Olympic gold in Rio."

Canadian rider Georgia Simmerling took up endurance cycling less than two years ago but, should she be selected, Rio will be her third Olympics in three different sports.

Originally a skier, Simmerling raced in the Super-G at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Four years later, in Sochi, she competed in the ski-cross -- an event in which she is a five-time World Cup medalist.

Looking to cross-train, she took up rowing and then endurance cycling and now Simmerling is on the brink of a third Olympics at age 26 with the team announced early April.

"It's been a roller coaster, it's been an amazing experience," Simmerling told The Associated Press. "I have worked so hard to get to where I am today. I am so honored to be a part of such a successful team and such a professional and positive culture in Canada cycling."

The past few days were tough mentally despite the team emerging with a silver medal.

"It's been incredible. Racing in front of this amount of people," Simmerling said. "I never ski raced in front of this amount of people - except the Olympics - but I am using that as my strength, using my mental experience in sport at an elite level to excel."

She added: "I am trying to be a sponge and learn as quick as I possibly can."

Britain was third, its worst ever result in the event after six golds and two silvers in the previous eight editions.

Filippo Ganna announced his presence on the international stage with victory in the men's individual pursuit.

The Italian rider is only 19 years old but he bided his time to take the lead with 625 meters of the 4,000 left, beating Domenic Weinstein in 4:16.141

Anastasiia Voinova made a successful defense of her title in the women's 500 time trial.

The Russian rider was the last of the 15 riders to take to the track and she took 0.777 seconds off long-time leader and 2013 champion Wai Sze Lee, winning in 32.959.

Jonathan Dibben sent Britain to the top of the medal table with victory in the points race.

Related Athletes

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Kelly Catlin

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Sarah Hammer