USA women's Team Pursuit squad on track to defend world title in Apeldoorn

The US women's team pursuit squad proved that they haven't lost any strength after they captured the gold medal at the fifth round of the UCI Track World Cup in Minsk, Belarus, during the second day of racing on Saturday. The have shown that they are on track to win a third consecutive world title in Apeldoorn, Netherlands next month.

In Minsk, the team that includes Chloe Dygert, Kelly Catlin, Jennifer Valente and Kim Geist won the final round against Italy for the gold medal. They posted a time of 04:15.673, nine seconds faster than the Italians.

Italy's team included Martina Alzini, Elisa Balsamo, Marta Cavalli and Simona Frapporti. Alzini replaced Letizia Paternoster, who raced the qualifying round.

The Americans raced somewhat conservatively during heat four of the qualifying rounds, posting 04:26.498 to beat Republic of Korea. They stepped up their game during the final round, racing 11 seconds faster for the gold medal.

Team member, Valente impressed by also claiming bronze in the overall Omnium. During the four rounds, she placed second in the Scratch Race, eighth in the Tempo Race, second in the Elimination Race and fifth in the Points Race. Dutchwoman Kirsten Wild won the gold medal ahead of Elinor Barker (Great Britain).

As for the women's Team Pursuit squad, this is the first time the US has sent a team to the World Cup this year. The Italian team won the opening round in Poland. The second round was won by Great Britain in Manchester. The third round in Milton won by the Canadians and the fourth round in Santiago won by New Zealand.

The team last raced at the 2017 UCI Track World Championships in Hong Kong with the same four riders where they took the fastest time in the qualifying round and beat Italy in the first round. The quartet then went on to win the gold medal with a time of 04:19.413, beating Australia. Dygert also won the Individual Pursuit title in 2017. They also won the title with Sarah Hammer in 2016.

After their recent gold medal in Minsk, the four riders look set to challenge for the world title again at the 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands from February 28 to March 4.

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