The four-woman team from the United States posted the fastest qualifying time of 4 minutes, 11.229 seconds in the Team Pursuit on Wednesday, topping the 12-nation field.
Team USA beat back archival Great Britain, who stopped the clock in second, at 4:11.971, and set themselves up for a run at the world title in finals competition, Thursday evening.
“The ladies handled the moment really well,” said USA Cycling boss Gary Sutton. “They executed as they needed to, and put us in a good place for the rest of the team pursuit competition.”
The team set a blistering pace in the opening kilometer of the 4km race, wobbled a bit in the second kilometer, and powered home in the final half of the race to stop the clock with the best qualifying time. It also set a new U.S. record in women’s team pursuit.
Valente will continue her busy worlds program featuring five events with the scratch race Wednesday evening, where she will be one of the favorites to win.
In the men’s qualifying rounds, Denmark set a new world record in the 4km Men’s Team Pursuit, at 3 minutes, 46.579 seconds, en route to leading men’s qualifying by shaving more than one second off the former record.