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By Ben Delaney
Round three of the UCI Track World Cup closed Sunday in Los Angeles with Argentina, Australia, Belarus, France, Russia and the United States each collecting multiple gold medals over the weekend.
Ostensibly leading out fellow American Becky Quinn of the Spike pro team, Hammer gradually wound up the pace from 2k out, with Quinn glued to her wheel. But coming around the final corner, Hammer was still flying, and no one could match her pace. Nor could anyone come around Quinn, who finished second.
“The plan going into it was me leading Becky out. I knew I was strong enough to get on the front and I knew I wouldn’t blow up from that distance,” Hammer said. “It just happened that I held on for the win. Either one of us would have been fine, but you can’t beat that, two Americans in the top two.”
After setting a track record in the individual pursuit on Saturday, Hammer relied on her strength in that event to carry her through to a win on Sunday. “I only train for the pursuit. The points race and scratch race are just a bonus. I’m not a fan of the pack. Really, my only goal today was not to crash.”
Quinn’s silver medal effort was her second of the weekend after finishing second in Friday’s 20km points race.
In the men’s 40k Madison, Russia’s diligence in the sprints put the country into the lead more than halfway into the race, but when Argentina, and later the Netherlands, took a lap, Russia slid into third. Going into the last sprint the Argentinean team of former Madison world champion Walter Perez and Dario Colla lead by only two points. Perez had already shown good form on Friday in winning the scratch race. Argentina started the sprint with a lap to go, and although Denmark came around for the win, Argentina held off the Netherlands to secure overall victory.
In the women’s Keirin, world champion Clara Sanchez of France won by coming around second-place finisher Shuang Guo of China out of the last turn. Italy’s Elisa Frisoni took third.
And in the men’s team sprint, France made its abilities clear in the qualifying round — putting more than .6 seconds on second-place Poland, covering three laps at an average speed of 59.481k/hr. All three members of France’s team went into the event holding medals from previous events — Grégory Bauge sprint gold, Mickaël Bourgain sprint silver and François Pervis kilo bronze. In the final, France, with a time of 45.299, beat Poland, who clocked 45.377. Australia beat the Spike pro team by half a second for bronze.
A five-medal performance for the American contingent this weekend largely put to rest the bad memories of a less-than-stellar showing at the 2005 World Championships held here in March.
“We had solid performances all around,” said USA Cycling director of track programs Pat McDonough. “We had personal bests by nearly all the riders, five medals and seven top-four performances. We were certainly in the hunt more than we have been in the recent past. The best thing here has been the attitude. That’s where it all begins.”
Results – Day 3- UCI World Cup Track, Los Angeles
1. Sarah Hammer (USA)
2. Rebecca Quinn (USA)
3. Yulia Arustamova (RUS)
1. Clara Sanchez (FRA)
2. Guo Shuang (CHN)
3. Elisa Frisoni (ITA)
1. Dario Colla/Walter Perez (ARG), 7pts
2. Jens Mouris/Niki Terpstra (NED), 4
3. Mikhail Ignatiev/Nikolay Trussov (RUS,) at 1 lap
1. France (Bauge, Bourgain, Pervis), 45.299sec
2. Poland, 46.377
3. Australia, 45.867