Jennifer Valente, Christina Birch, Kimberly Geist and Emma White compete at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships on Feb. 27, 2019 in Pruszkow, Poland.
There’s no better way to start the season than with a gold medal, and that’s what cyclists Jennifer Valente, Christina Birch, Chloé Dygert Owen and Emma White did in the women’s team pursuit race at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup opener on Friday in Minsk, Belarus.
Facing Germany for the top spot on the podium, the U.S. team led throughout and clocked in at 4:13.762. Germany took the silver medal with a time of 4:14.836. The win comes after Team USA qualified in first place with a time of 4:15.505.
It is the first world cup gold medal in women’s team pursuit for Team USA since the 2017-18 campaign, also in Minsk, on a team also including Dygert Owen and Valente.
For the U.S., it’s a continuation of a run of team pursuit success that includes a silver medal at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and world championship gold medals in both 2017 and 2018. Valente and Dygert Owen were members of all three of those teams, and have enjoyed individual success as well, with Valente most recently winning a bronze medal at the 2019 world championships in women’s omnium and Dygert Owen becoming the youngest woman to win an elite world time trial championship on the road in September, which qualified her for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in that discipline. Birch is a six-time national champion in three disciplines and White became the youngest woman to win the Pro Women’s Criterium national championship title in June.
Valente, Birch and White along with Kim Geist took seventh at the world championships in 2019.