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Women's individual pursuit world championship podium (L-R): Amy Cure, silver; Sarah Hammer, gold; Annette Edmondson, bronze
Scratch race, omnium still to come for American at Track Worlds
Sarah Hammer (USA) qualified fastest yesterday in the women's 3000m individual pursuit at the UCI Track World Championships in Minsk, Belarus and then later in the day powered to the world championship against Australia's Amy Cure. For Hammer, the sole American competing in Minsk, the pursuit world title was the fifth of her career having earned rainbow stripes previously in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011.
Hammer, the 3000m pursuit world record holder, qualified more than three seconds faster than Cure with a time of 3:30.206, then put eight seconds into the 20-year-old Australian in the gold medal final, 3;32.050 to 3:40.685.
"It's special every time," Hammer said. "The rainbow stripes are something I love to have for the year and it's what I was thinking about lining up on the start line.
"Qualifying went well, but for the final anything can happen. I have the experience of many world championships so I know that it doesn't always feel great but just get on with it."
"Cure put up a good fight, jumping out to a lead of nearly one second in the first kilometer, but Sarah stuck to the plan and chipped away at Cure's lead for the next four laps," said Benjamin Sharp, USA Cycling's high performance director of endurance programs. "Sarah made large gains in the final four laps, enjoying the advantage of getting close enough to see her opponent in the same stretch."
With one world championship already earned in Minsk, Hammer will have two additional opportunities to win rainbow jerseys: the 10km scratch race on Friday followed by the omnium, which takes place over six events on Saturday and Sunday.
Hammer won the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics for the omnium, and started 2013 by winning the omnium at the final UCI Track World Cup round at Aguascalientes, Mexico in January.
"Winning the pursuit world title is the best possible way to start the week of competition, and she is already looking forward to the scratch race and especially the omnium," said Sharp.