In 2016, the U.S. women's cycling team made history by winning its first-ever team pursuit world title after missing the top of the podium for the first eight years of the event. That first taste of gold broke the dam, as the quartet of Chloe Dygert, Kelly Catlin, Jennifer Valente and Kim Geist defended that championship at the 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong.
It was the closest-contested race of the day, as Team USA beat out Australia by just .417 seconds to claim gold. The U.S. staked out an early lead in the first kilometer, but the lead changed hands four times before the final lap. Australia led at that point by .412, but Dygert took the lead for the U.S. and pushed Team USA to a come-from-behind victory in 4:19.413. Australia earned the silver with 4:19.830, and New Zealand defeated Italy for bronze.
"That was a fantastic battle with a very good Australian team,” said Jim Miller, USA Cycling Vice President of Athletics. “We had a fight to the very end. Hats off to the Aussies, they rode a great race."
In 2016, Catlin, Dygert and Valente teamed up with two-time Olympian Sarah Hammer to win gold over Canada. The three then went on to make their first Olympic team, competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where, also with Hammer, they earned team pursuit silver.
Hammer has since switched to mass-start races and will be competing in the scratch race, the points race and the omnium in Hong Kong.
Catlin, Dygert, Valente and Geist competed together at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Los Angeles in February, taking gold in front of the home crowd. Catlin and Valente were part of the silver-medal-winning team pursuit squad at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Action in Hong Kong continues on Friday; Zak Kovalcik competes in the men's points race and Hammer in the women's omnium.