LONDON (VN) — The United States raced to the silver medal in the Olympic women’s team pursuit on Saturday as Great Britain turned yet another world-record time to take the gold.
In the gold-medal final at the Velodrome in London’s Olympic Park, Team USA — Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch and Lauren Tamayo — faced the host nation, which punched out a record time of 3:14.051 for the victory.
The Americans finished in 3:19.727 to claim the silver. Canada took bronze, edging Australia by 0.181 second.
Britain’s Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell had set a new world record for the 3km event on Friday but sliced nearly a second off that time a day later in qualifying for the gold medal match in a stunning time of 3:14.682.
That sent them into the final against the Americans, who substituted Tamayo for Jennie Reed. But despite a tight start to the race the Americans faded over the last half. After the first four laps the USA was only 0.78 second down, but the deficit soon grew and by the finish the Americans were more than five seconds off the pace.
Britain’s new time was its third consecutive world record in as many rides.
“We didn’t expect a world record in every round,” said Trott.
Rowsell said the event was “all about trusting your teammates.”
“I give 100 percent, and so do they,” she said. “I think being a good team is as important as having the physical abilities. When you are riding at your limits, you have to believe in each other.”
Added King: “Words can’t describe how I’m feeling. I don’t think this smile will come off my face for a long time.
“Knowing we are capable of breaking a world record, it motivates us. We know we have been making gains all the time. We have had some tough training camps. It all came together today — we rode as one, almost. It’s been a dream come true.”
Reed said the decision to replace former keirin champion Reed with road racer Tamayo for the gold/silver round against Great Britain “had been made before the first round.”
“We knew our best shot would be to win against Australia, and that would set it up to give everything for that last ride, she continued. “We knew our best chance for gold would be to put a fresh rider in. That’s the strategy. We knew Great Britain were in their own league. A lot of times you can’t replicate an effort within one hour; it’s especially tough for me, I am a sprinter, and I don’t’ know if I could reproduce that sort of performance in one hour.”
Added Bausch: “The four of us think of ourselves as the gladiators of team pursuit. We’re such a mismatch. Sarah is a four-time world individual pursuit champion, Jennie is a world-class sprinter, and then Lauren and I are two roadies. I think we just wanted it more than the other teams in the last two days. We fought, on every pedal stroke, on every lap, fought for every second. I believe we wanted it more.
“It’s wild to think of the deep richness of the programs in Australia and Great Britain, and we’re basically four ladies and (Benjamin Sharp, USA Cycling track endurance director) and we got silver.”