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Americans prep for track worlds this week

Eight Americans, including a current and a former world champ, queue up for track worlds in Copenhagen

At 19 years of age, defending world champion Taylor Phinney is among the four American men preparing for the track world championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, this week. Two-time world champion Sarah Hammer is leading the women’s squad for the March 24-28 races.

Riders practice in Copenhagen on Monday. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK

Colby Pearce, competing in his eighth world championships, said the American squad may be the best ever fielded for worlds.

“In the individual pursuit, we have Hammer and Phinney, who can both win,” Pearce said. “We have a women’s team pursuit team that can medal for sure. We have Shelley Evans who just seems to keep getting better and better in the points race and scratch race. We have Gideon Massie who seems to have found his best event in the kilo; he has ridden world-class times in this event, so I am excited to see what he can do this year. And Daniel Holloway has a real shot in the scratch race for a medal; he has proven he is capable of performing at the world level on the track.”

Pearce will race the Madison with Holloway.

“We rode very well together at the last six day race in Copenhagen, and we are both going better now, so I think we have a great chance to medal,” Pearce said. “We are not coming here to sit in the field.”

Coming off a successful early road season, Lauren Tamayo will join Evans and Dotsie Bausch for the team pursuit.

“We have had some awesome training the last few days, fine tuning and getting a good feel for the track,” Tamayo said. “All systems go; this is what we have been focusing on for the past three months. In general the U.S. has a small team here compared to some other countries but we have a lot of potential here as well.”

After racing the Tour of Qatar in February where he scored two top-10 stage results against ProTour riders, Phinney headed to California for training at the Home Depot Center velodrome. Phinney won the individual pursuit at worlds last year in Poland, becoming the first American man to win an elite world title on the track in 13 years. Besides the individual pursuit, Phinney will race the omnium, which consists of five events: a 200m flying time trial, a 5km scratch race, an individual pursuit, a 15km points race and a kilo time trial.

Massie will race two events, the kilo and the sprint.

“The weather’s been cool and often wet since we’ve arrived here in Copenhagen, but inside the track it’s warm and sunny,” Massie said. “I feel good and the confidence has also been good. My first day of competition is Friday. I am simply looking to go out and execute and let the training do its job. That’s all I can ask for.”

Hammer, the 2006 and 2007 world champion in the individual pursuit, won that event at the World Cup in Cali, Colombia, earlier this season. She will also race the omnium in Copenhagen.

VeloNews.com will be covering each day of the UCI track world championships, which begin with the women’s individual pursuit and 500m time trial, and the men’s points race, team sprint and individual sprint on Wednesday.

2010 U.S. track world championships team

Taylor Phinney — Individual Pursuit, Omnium

Daniel Holloway — Scratch Race, Madison

Colby Pearce — Madison

Giddeon Massie — Sprint, Kilo

Sarah Hammer — Individual Pursuit, Omnium, Team Pursuit

Lauren Tamayo — Team Pursuit

Dotsie Bausch — Team Pursuit

Shelley Evans — Points Race, Scratch Race

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