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By Courtesy USA Cycling
The U.S. Pan American Cycling Team added three more medals to the medal count Wednesday starting off with a silver medal ride in the women’s 500m time trial by Chris. The winning momentum continued later in the afternoon when sprinters Tanya Lindenmuth and Giddeon Massie each won medals in the keirin.
The Olympic medallist in speed skating found her form on the track and stayed steady throughout the 500m test to clinch the silver medal in 36.304. Nancy Contreras (Mex) won the event in 35.463. Yumari Gonzalez (Cub was third clocking a 36.559.
Witty’s silver medal at the Pan Am Games is the 28 year-old’s first medal in international competition. The soft-spoken sprinter commented on her first medal-winning performance at the Pan Am Games.
“It went okay – I knew when I finished that it would be a 35 that would beat Nancy today,” said Witty. “For my second race since Sydney (2000 Olympics) I’d say it went good for mixed reasons. Every time you race it’s a learning experience. The 500 is a relatively new distance so it is difficult to know what the optimal gear to use is. What I’ve learned is that during the whole race it was an even effort. So maybe I look at improving my start and fine-tuning my technique in the first part of the race.”
The afternoon session proved to be twice as nice as sprinter specialists Tanya Lindenmuth and Giddeon Massie won the gold and silver medal in the women’s and men’s keirin respectively. Lindenmuth followed her gut in the race and relied on experience and power to propel her to the line ahead of silver medalist Daniela Larreak (Vz). Yumari Gonzalez (Cub) finished third to claim her second bronze medal of the day.
Lindenmuth was clearly happy with her ride and emotional about the victory. “Before the race, really – I was a little shaky – I didn’t feel well at all,” said the two-time consecutive national sprint and 500m champion. “I just kept telling myself to relax – I know I have the speed with all of those girls. I guess it all came down to positive self-talk throughout the whole race. I just went on instinct. I really just stopped over-thinking and analyzing, took my time and stayed sheltered. With three laps to go I moved up and continued to find my position. Coming into the home straight we really started to dig, we heard the bell, everybody got excited and I thought just jump around and get in front.”
Lindenmuth continued about her first Pan Am medal and what it means: “I really wanted to hear our anthem, the national anthem, and see our flag on the highest point. I’ve had a really hard couple of months where I’ve examined whether I belong on the bike and it’s just nice to see it come of out me. I’ve really soul-searched lately and it’s nice for it to come together here. Of course I can’t do it without all of our staff here so I’m very humbled by this experience”
Giddeon Massie won the third medal of the day taking the silver immediately after Lindenmuth’s gold medal ride. Massie, who came back to win the men’s repechage round of the keirin was equally happy with his first Pan Am medal.
“I just wanted to use my speed and not get caught up and on the outside,” commented Massie. “I’m happy with it – second place, but I also guess it means there’s room for improvement. This is a good boost for me mentally going into the sprints .It’s not going to be easy – it will get tougher from here on out so I’ll concentrate on taking care of myself and doing the best I can.”
Massie qualified for the semi-final of the men’s sprint in the morning session beating Genaro Cespedes (Dom) with a time of 11.509. Massie’s teammate Stephen Alfred also qualified for the semi-finals with a victory over Ricardo Lynch (JAM). Alfred commented on his performance so far in Santo Domingo.
“So far, so good. I’m a little disappointed with the qualifying round, but I put that behind me,” said Alfred. “I’m looking at a very tough Columbian rider in the semi-final – he is very crafty and I will have to give it everything I’ve got. The South Americans, they treat this like their biggest championships, like it’s the world championships – that being said, they take it very seriously and I take nothing for granted.”
U.S. coach Des Dickie was also pleased to see his riders on the podium. “I’m really happy with the performances today,” said Dickie. “We came back from the world championships really pretty dejected and not feeling very good about ourselves and we knew we worked very hard going into the world’s at our camp. Our performances here are showing the athletes that they can perform like world-class competitors. We are competing with some really excellent riders and our performances are world-class so we are certainly happy with the medal count.”
Massie and Alfred will both ride in the semi-finals of the men’s sprint Thursday morning with the finals set for Friday night beginning at 5:00 p.m. Team sprint qualifying is also on tap for Thursday’s morning session with the men’s points race slated for the evening session.