|Matt Baranoski competes in sprint qualifying at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup at the Lee Valley Velopark Velodrome on Dec. 7, 2014 in London.|
After winning the gold medal in women’s team pursuit at the 2016 UCI Track World Championships, the same five-member team that made history for USA Cycling earlier this month will chase Olympic history this summer at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Kelly Catlin, Chloe Dygert, Sarah Hammer, Jennifer Valente and Ruth Winder were named to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team on Friday afternoon. Also named to the team was Matt Baranoski, who will compete in the men’s keirin. The selections are pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The group gave the United States its first women’s world title in a team event in London earlier this month and will go into Rio as a gold-medal contender.
The Americans are an interesting blend of experience and youth. The veteran of the group, Hammer will compete in her third Olympic Games after competing in Beijing in 2008, then winning two silver medals in team pursuit and omnium in London in 2012. One of the most decorated women’s cyclists in the United States, she has won 14 world championship medals, including seven golds. Her world championships bronze medal in the omnium qualified her to the team automatically.
Hammer’s world record 3:22.269 in the individual pursuit still stands are the mark to beat six years later. Hammer will celebrate her 33rd birthday at the Games.
On the other end of the experience scale is Dygert, who is back from an ACL injury that interrupted her meteoric rise through the junior ranks. Only 18, the native of Brownsburg, Indiana, has won four junior national championships, including the junior 17-18 road race and individual time trial in 2015.
Catlin was born to be part of a team, given that she is a fraternal triplet. The 20-year-old from Arden Hills, Minnesota, won the U-23 time trial and road race at the 2014 USA Cycling Amateur and Road National Championship. She followed that with an 11th-place finish in the individual time trials at the 2015 USA Cycling Pro Road Race and Time Trials National Championship. She won the individual time trials and was part of the silver-medal-winning team pursuit squad at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Valente won silver at the 2015 worlds in individual pursuit and is a three-time world cup medalist. She was the omnium national champion in 2014, adding that title to an impressive showing the year before, when she took silver in three events (sprint, points race and flying time trial) and a bronze in time trial at the 2013 USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships. The 21-year-old took the gold in the women’s scratch race and a bronze in the keirin at the 2011 UCI Junior Track World Championships.
Winder brings an international flair to the team. Born in Yorkshire, England, she now lives in Lafayette, California. She brings solid credentials to the team, including a pair of national championships in team pursuit (2010, 2013) and two junior national gold medals: the 15-16 road race in 2009 and 17-18 scratch race in 2010.
Baranoski, a native of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, who is scheduled to graduate from Penn State this year with a degree in electrical engineering, already has eight national titles to his credit. He picked up three at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships (team sprint, individual sprint time trial and keirin). He turns 23 just nine days before the Opening Ceremony in Rio. He finished fifth in sprint and eighth in keirin at the 2015 Pan American Games.
The men’s omnium athlete will be selected no later than April 1, following the selection of Bobby Lea’s arbitration hearing.