Home-track advantage proved fruitful for Kelly Catlin, Chloe Dygert, Kim Geist and Jennifer Valente on Saturday as they took team pursuit gold at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Los Angeles.
The U.S. qualified first into the final with a round one time of 4:20.10, ahead of New Zealand in 4:22.71 and Canada in 4:25.651. That pit Team USA against New Zealand for gold, and Canada against Italy for bronze. In the final, the U.S. clocked 4:19.990 to New Zealand's 4:24.619 to claim gold. Canada turned in a bronze-medal performance wth 4:25.487.
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No stranger to the team pursuit podium, Valente, Catlin, Dygert and Sarah Hammer won silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, matching the performance of the U.S. squad four years prior in London. That same foursome is also the reigning world champion, defeating Canada in the finals to take gold.
Still a young group, Dygert, Catlin and Valente were all first-time Olympians in Rio. Catlin and Valente were part of the silver-medal-winning team pursuit squad at the 2015 Pan American Games, where Catlin also won the individual time trials. Dygert, just 20 years old, returned from an ACL injury to make her Olympic debut after dominating on the junior circuit. Geist has been in the international mix for several years after recovering from a horrific crash in 2007. She won gold in the team pursuit at the 2014 Pan American Championships and took bronze in the points race at the 2015 world championships.