Two years after winning an Olympic silver medal, three members of the U.S. women’s track cycling team have now won an unprecedented three world titles in the event.
Olympic silver medalists Jennifer Valente, Kelly Catlin and Chloe Dygert-Owen, along with Kim Geist, earned a bit of revenge during the UCI Track Cycling World Championships on Thursday in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, by beating Great Britain in the gold-medal ride.
It marked the first time the Americans have won three world titles in a row in the event, and also the first time Team USA and Great Britain have squared off in women’s team pursuit since the Olympic Games Rio 2016, when Team USA took the silver medal.
Valente, 23, Catlin, 22, and Dygert-Owen, 21, along with now-retired Sarah Hammer, were all on that 2016 U.S. Olympic Team that finished behind gold-medal winner Great Britain. The quartet had won the country’s historic first world championship in women’s team pursuit in March of 2016 by defeating Canada in the final.
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Hammer left the team following the 2016 season, Geist, 30, joined, and the U.S. women haven’t lost a beat, defeating Australia for the gold medal in 2017, and now the Brits.
Team USA qualified first during Wednesday’s time trials with 4:18.836 and defeated New Zealand in the opening round to face Great Britain in the final.
Team USA took the lead after the opening kilometer with a 1:08.285 split but Great Britain pulled ahead at the second kilometer by nearly a full second before the U.S. turned it on in the final kilometer to win by 1.331 seconds.
“We set the trajectory and we're going to follow it all the way to Tokyo,” Valente said, referring to the site of the Olympic Games 2020.
Valente also won a silver medal in individual pursuit at the 2015 world championships. Valente is also competing in the points race and omnium. Catlin and Dygert-Owen will compete in the individual pursuit, and Geist in the Madison with Kim Zubris.
Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.