Going into the final race of the women’s track omnium event at the Rio Olympics, there was little doubt that Britain’s Laura Trott could repeat as gold medalist. But the rest of the podium came down to the final sprints Tuesday with American Sarah Hammer getting the better of Belgian Jolien D’hoore to earn her second silver medal in Rio de Janeiro, and the fourth of her career.
“I can’t believe it, I did not expect that at all. I’m just so happy,” Trott told the BBC. “It has all come together — what a day. I’m literally over the moon.
“It’s down also to the backroom team who have put up with me being stroppy [ill-tempered or belligerent] at times.
“To be able to repeat my London success — I just can’t explain what I’m feeling right now.”
Trott, also the world champion, came into the last of the event’s six disciplines with a commanding lead of 24 points after coming first in three of the previous races and second in the other two.
Throughout the points race, Trott was clearly in charge, taking enough sprints to pad her lead but not concerning her with riders like Denmark’s Amalie Dideriksen who won the the final race by lapping the field three times. Instead, the Briton focused on her closest rivals. Hammer and D’hoore entered the last race even on points. Throughout the 25km race, the two traded second-place several times, but heading into the final sprint, Hammer had the lead and made a convincing attack that the Belgian couldn’t follow.
“Jolien is an amazing racer. That’s her specialty is the points races,” said Hammer. “She’s absolutely phenomenal on the road. She thrives in the pack, same on the track. I knew that it was going to be a big ask to try to match her in the sprints.
“I’m so, so excited. Of course you always want to take a medal, but when you’re talking about two days and six events, absolutely anything can happen.”
Trott wrapped up the two days of omnium racing with a score of 230 points. Hammer had 206, and D’hoore earned 199.