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US track team fifth in medal standings

Jennie Reed (Kirkland, Washington) placed fifth in women's keirin on Sunday to give the U.S. Cycling Team its best finish on the closing day of the 2007 UCI Track World Championships, while recent women's pursuit champion Sarah Hammer (Temecula, California/Ouch Pro Cycling) placed 14th in the 25-kilometer points race.

Reed sailed through her first two qualifying heats to earn a spot in the six-woman final, but was at a disadvantage after drawing the sixth seed in an all-star pool of women's sprinters. She regained a slight edge when defending World Champion Christin was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct in the first lap of the eight-lap race. But after making her way to the front of the field with two-and-a-half laps remaining, Reed was eventually overtaken by the rest of the field before the final surge to the line.

"I knew going into the final that you have six of the best in the world, so you can't make too much of a plan," explained Reed afterwards. "It's hard when you draw fifth. I was last and it's hard when you have everyone strong in front of you. I made the best of it. I gave it a go and that was the result."

Entering Sunday's competition, the U.S. was well positioned to collect its third medal of the weekend with both Reed and Hammer in action, but like Reed, Hammer's efforts also fell short.

Hammer accumulated only two points in the 100-lap points race to finish in the bottom half of the leader board despite entering the event as one of the pre-race favourites. The two-time individual pursuit champion notched her points by placing third in the fourth intermediate sprint of the contest.

"I just didn't have it today," said Hammer.

The U.S. finished the event tied for fifth in the overall medal standings with two - Hammer's gold and the bronze won by Brad Huff (Fair Grove, Mo.) in Thursday's omnium. Great Britain dominated the event with 11 medals - seven of them gold - while Australia and the Netherlands won six apiece.

Still, Pat McDonough, USA Cycling Director of Athletics came to a positive conclusion. "We're continuing to take positive steps forward," he said. "Our plan was to come here with a small but competitive team, and we did just that. We won two medals, were relegated out of one and made the keirin finals. Of the small group that was here, we had some extremely competitive performances. It's only a matter of time until we become a greater threat on a more consistent basis."

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