American builds for world title defense
Sarah Hammer (United States) won the gold medal in the women's omnium at the second UCI Track World Cup of the season in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Hammer, the reigning world champion and 2012 Olympic Games silver medalist in the discipline, finished with 19 points, seven points better than 2012 Olympic Games gold medalist Laura Trott (Great Britain), who had won the omnium at the first Track World Cup in Manchester in early November. Belgium's Jolien D'Hoore placed third with 27 points.
"It's always an honor to race with the rainbow stripes, so you want to go out there and showcase the jersey as best as possible," said Hammer. "My personality is that I always like to win no matter what and it's even more prestigious when you have the rainbow jersey on."
On Friday, Hammer opened with a victory in the flying lap and followed that up with a third-place finish in the points race and a fourth-place finish in the elimination race to take a three-point lead in the omnium standings over Trott.
On Saturday, Hammer left no doubt she was in top form, winning the individual pursuit and scratch race to open up an 11-point advantage in the standings over D'Hoore entering the final event. Hammer clinched the victory with a ninth-place finish in the 500m time trial.
Hammer didn't contest the opening Track World Cup in Manchester and was pleased with her result in Aguascalientes, with an eye forward for her world title defense in Cali, Colombia in early March, 2014.
"It was definitely a rough summer, getting my plate taken out of my collarbone and then three weeks later cracking it again in training. I've been around for many years and I have the mind to be able to deal with it. Pushing my goals, I was originally going to go to Manchester [for the first World Cup] and then pushing it to Aguascalientes was going to be my first big hit out, and I'm happy with how it went. So I think we're right on track for Worlds."
In addition to contesting the omnium in Aguascalientes, Hammer was also part of the US team which placed fourth in the team pursuit. Along with Kimberly Geist, Jennifer Valente and Ruth Winder, the quartet qualified fourth with a US record of 4:24.279 over the new 4,000m distance. The US team lost to Australia, 4:22.533 to 4:24.483, in the race for the bronze medal. After setting a world record in qualifying, Great Britain won gold against Canada with another world record time of 4:16.552.