The United States closed out the Los Angeles Track World Cup on Sunday with a pair of medals as Jennie Reed claimed a gold medal in the keirin and USA Cycling’s Women’s Team Pursuit program made its international debut with a bronze medal.
After capturing a silver medal in the sprint on Friday, Reed turned in a commanding performance in the keirin to earn her second medal of the weekend and her 18th-career World Cup medal.
Reed won both her first- and second-round heats before taking the final ahead of Willy Kanis (NED), Gong Jinjie (CHN), Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez (CUB), Svetlana Grankovskaya (RUS) and Anna Meares (AUS).
With a solid performance in the sprint already under her belt, Reed entered Sunday’s keirin – arguably her strongest event – as one of favorites for the gold medal.
“I always knew that if my sprint was good then my keirin would be really good, so that really helped my confidence,” explained Reed following her victory. “Tonight I just felt great. I went to the line with a clear mind – to just have fun and see what would happen.”
Reed’s gold closed the U.S. medal count at five. Earlier in the day, the women’s team pursuit squad of Kristin Armstrong, Lauren Franges and Christen King rode to a bronze medal in the United States’ World Cup debut.
After the event was added to the international program this season, the U.S. skipped the first two rounds in Sydney and Beijing but brought a squad to Los Angeles. In the morning’s qualifying session, the trio clocked a 3:35.956 over three kilometers to earn the fourth seed and set up a head-to-head match against Germany for the bronze medal. In the medal round, the U.S. squad shaved a remarkable four seconds off its qualifying time to place third overall with a 3:31.453.
“I think we all came in expecting a medal,” said Franges of her team’s expectations. “It would have been nice to ride for the gold, but being the first time, we had to start somewhere. It was good to get the first one out of the way and get a medal for the U.S.”
In the gold medal final, the Ukraine clocked a winning time of 3:27.438 to beat Russia.
With several of the U.S.’ top women’s endurance riders having now participated in a major team pursuit competition (Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch and Reed teamed up for a national title at the USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships in October with a time of 3:34.783), it has showed it’s capable of contending for a medal when the event makes its world championship debut in Great Britain later this year.
“Right now our goal for the program is the world championships,” explained Jim Miller, USA Cycling’s director of endurance programs. “We have five or six really strong riders that we can plug in and be successful with. The numbers we put up today have been consistent with the winning times at the first two World Cups, but I think you’ll see a whole new beast at the world championships.”
The three-day competition closed with the men’s madison in which the U.S. fielded two teams. Racing under the Slipstream Sports presented by Chipotle banner as one of 18 men’s trade teams in L.A., the duo of Colby Pearce and Michael Friedman finished fifth overall. The pair accumulated seven points in the finals but finished a lap down from the winning squad from Belgium. Denmark finished second and Germany third with 18 and 12 points respectively on the same lap as Pearce and Friedman.
Bobby Lea and Brad Huff gave the U.S. a second team in the finals after advancing from their qualifying heat, but dropped out of the finals.
In addition to Reed’s silver medal in the sprint, the U.S. had already collected three medals prior to Sunday’s podium appearances. On Friday, 17-year-old Taylor Phinney won the men’s 4-kilometer individual pursuit and Sarah Hammer claimed a bronze medal in the women’s 3-kilometer individual pursuit.
The final event on the four-race 2007-08 UCI Track World Cup series takes place Feb. 15-17 in Ballerup, Denmark before the international track season concludes with the World Championships in Manchester the final weekend of March.
2008 UCI Track World Cup Classics
ADT Event Center at the Home Depot Center
Los Angeles, Calif., January 18-20
Day Three Results:
1. Jennie Reed (USA)
2. Willy Kanis (NED)
3. Jinjie Gong (CHN)
1. Roberto Chiappa (ITA)
2. Kevin Sireau (FRA)
3. Teun Mulder (NED)
8. Adam Duvendeck (USA)
Women’s Team Pursuit
1. Ukraine 3:27.438
2. Russia 3:30.018
3. USA – Kristin Armstrong, Christen King, Lauren Franges 3:31.453
1. Belgium 8
2. Denmark 18, -1
3. Germany 12, -1
5. Slipstream/Chipotle (USA): Colby Pearce, Michael Friedman 7, -1
© BikeRadar & USA Cycling 2008