The United States Cycling Team concluded the Track Cycling World Championships on Sunday with two fourth places. Becky Quinn (Quakertown, Pa./Team Spike) placed fourth in the women's 10 km scratch race and Jennie Reed (Kirkland, Wash./Team Spike) placed fourth in the women's keirin.
To solidify a spot in the finals, Reed placed second in her two qualifying heats, first to Di Mu, then to Shuang Guo, both of China. The six-woman final was without a clear-cut favourite after sprint and 500m time trial world champion Natallia Tsylinskaya of Belarus was eliminated in a photo finish a round earlier. Joining Reed and the Chinese duo in the finals were defending champion Clara Sanchez of France, Maria Garcia of Colombia and Christin Muche of Germany.
After drawing the pole position, Reed led the pack of six with one lap remaining, but a surge from the riders behind led to a subsequent disqualification for Mu followed by a crash for Garcia. Caught up in the aftermath, Reed had to settle for fourth place.
"I really don't know what happened," said Reed afterwards. "I have absolutely no idea. I'm trying to figure it out."
After dispatching some top sprinters in the sprint event earlier in the week, Reed was optimistic about her chances in the keirin, the stronger of her two events. "I had a good sprint. I beat some pretty fast girls. Usually when I have a good sprint, that means I'll have a great keirin."
Muche took the world title ahead of Sanchez, while Guo won the bronze.
Earlier in the day in the women's scratch race, Becky Quinn placed fourth. Two-thirds of the way through the 40-lap race, Gina Grain of Canada and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Maria Luisa Calle Williams of Colombia escaped from the pack and lapped the field, turning the final sprint into a dash for bronze.
In good position for the final sprint, Quinn was edged only by Olga Slioussareva of Russia, but with a pair of riders already a lap up on the peloton, Quinn had to settle for fourth overall. "Everybody has their agenda, and with two riders off the front like that with that many laps to go, the idea is just to keep it rolling and eventually catch," Quinn said after the race, "but nobody wants to sacrifice because everybody wants to win. Keeping the field rolling is one thing, but everybody was expecting everyone else to do the work. That's the way it goes sometimes."
With only one spot available on the podium in the closing kilometres, Quinn positioned herself for a shot at the bronze medal, but fell just short. "With two laps to go I was a little out of position, but I knew what I needed to do and where I wanted to be. Unfortunately it was for a field sprint and not for a spot on the podium."
In the final sprint, Williams took home the rainbow jersey ahead of Grain.