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Trott, Hammer locked in tight Olympic omnium battle

LONDON (AFP) — Olympic team pursuit champion Laura Trott boosted her gold medal chances in the women’s inaugural omnium after taking the lead of the six-discipline event at the halfway stage Monday.

Trott, 20, leads on 12 points, with American Sarah Hammer — the former team and individual pursuit world record holder — in second place, also on 12 points.

The rider with the lowest points tally at the end of two days of racing triumphs and a host of other contenders are still in the mix.

Australian Annette Edmondson is third on 17 with Canada’s Tara Whitten on 18.

Trott, who took gold with teammates Dani King and Joanna Rowsell over the weekend, won the 250m flying lap but slipped off provisional first after a 10th-place ride in the points race, in which Whitten finished third, Edmondson 11th and Hammer fifth.

But Trott had the crowd roaring again when she beat Hammer to be the sole survivor of the elimination, in which the rider sitting last in the field has to leave the race every two laps when a red light flashes on their handlebars.

Trott’s hopes now hinge on how she performs in the 3km indivdual pursuit, one of her strongest events, the scratch race and the 500m time trial. She leads Hammer, with whom she is tied on points, by virtue of her two event wins.

“I feel really strong,” said Trott. “I did a lot of work for the group races and hope for the best for tomorrow now.”

Hammer won the Olympic test event this spring and was a silver medalist, with Dotsie Bausch, Lauren Tamayo and Jennie Reed, in the team pursuit on Saturday.

“I’ll take it one race at a time,” said Hammer. “Today, everything worked out well. I’m very happy with the way I executed being focused on each and every start. The way the omnium works is you only can think of what the next race is. As of right now, I’m just thinking about that individual pursuit tomorrow morning.”

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