Track Worlds set to kick off in packed Dutch venue Wednesday


(March 22, 2011)— Reigning women’s individual pursuit world champion Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./OUCH) will lead a United States team of four men and five women into this week’s UCI Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, March 23-27. Thousands of fans are expected to pack the stands of the Omnisport Apeldoorn on Wednesday evening as the action begins.
With hefty points in the UCI Olympic Track Qualification Program and a spot on the U.S. Olympic long team at stake, all nine Americans will be looking for their top performance of the year this week in Apeldoorn. After two golds and a bronze put the U.S. squad sixth in the overall country medal count last year, the United States hopes to equal that mark in 2011 with a small, but talented squad.
Cari Higgins prepares to compete in Wednesday's points race.
Cari Higgins prepares to compete in Wednesday's points race.
Hammer will undoubtedly be a top medal prospect in both the individual pursuit and the omnium, the newest Olympic event for women on the track. The 28 year-old California native has won three of the last four world titles in the individual pursuit and, as the world-record holder, is determined to defend despite the event’s removal from the Olympic slate in London. After a strong world cup season, including an ominium win in the Manchester final round last month, Hammer is an odds-on favorite in that event as well.
Hammer will also team up with Jennie Reed (Seattle, Wach./OUCH), Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif./OUCH) and named reserve Lauren Tamayo (Asheville, NC/OUCH) to go for the rainbow stripes in the team pursuit. Hammer, Tamayo and Bausch hold the world record in the team race against the clock, a 3:19.569 set in Cali, Columbia last fall, and have helped make the U.S. into a serious medal contender.
“This is definitely a medal capable team,” said USA Cycling High Performance Director of Endurance Programs Benjamin Sharp. “Jennie brings a lot of power to the team and she gives us the ability to change speed.
We can’t control others’ times but our goal is to ride our best-ever time at sea level. The top five women’s pursuit squads are all very talented: Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands. The Dutch look to be super motivated on their home turf and the British came within 2/10 of our world record in Manchester so the competition will certainly be tough.”
After solidifying her comeback with a silver in Manchester last month, 2008 Olympian Reed  will continue her quest for some new hardware in the scratch race. Cari Higgins (Boulder, Colo./Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) will also look to add to the American medal count in the points race.
The U.S. men will field a team sprint squad for the first time in several years with Olympian Giddeon Massie (Cypress, Calif./Bike Religion) joining up with Dean Tracy (Portland, Ore./Project 2012) after grabbing automatic nominations to represent the U.S. by meeting the time standard at the Manchester World Cup. Another 08 Olympian, Michael Blatchford (Cypress, Calif./Project 2012) will join the pair in rounding out the three-man team sprint squad. Massie will also look to better his mark in the sprint after relegation in last year’s individual event.   
“We’re certainly looking to gain some points here,” said USA Cycling Sprint Program Director Jamie Staff. “Michael has only been back in full time training three months or so. He’s had a very aggressive training program and has adapted relatively quickly and has good speed at the moment. I was very pleased with what (Massie and Tracy) did in Manchester; posting the unofficial American record in the team sprint event. Our goal here is to beat the marks we set in Manchester, but admittedly the travel takes its toll.”

Following a solid world cup season, reigning national omnium champion, Bobby Lea (Mertztown, Pa./The Sports TEAM) will represent the USA in both the international omnium and scratch race in Apeldoorn. 
“I’m looking forward to my first worlds in three years and getting back on track towards London,” said Lea. “It’s been a bit of an up-and-down world cup season so I’m hoping to build on some of the progress I had in Manchester. A top ten would be great and a top five wonderful but ultimately it’s a stepping stone toward London and just working on the qualifying points.”


Wednesday’s action will include the U.S. men’s team sprint squad, Higgins in action contesting the women’s points race and Lea in the men's scratch. Check the link for the full schedule and more information on the UCI Track World Championships. Don’t forget to stay tuned to for daily reports and a photo gallery of all the action.

UCI Track World Championships
March 23-27, 2011
Bobby Lea (Mertztown, Pa./The Sports TEAM) – international omnium, scratch race
Giddeon Massie (Cypress, Calif./Bike Religion) – sprint, team sprint
Michael Blatchford (Cypress, Calif./Project 2012) – team sprint
Dean Tracy (Portland, Ore./Project 2012) – team sprint
Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif.) – international omnium, individual pursuit, team pursuit
Lauren Tamayo (Asheville, NC/Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) – team pursuit
Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif.) – team pursuit
Jennie Reed (Seattle, Wash.) – scratch race, team pursuit
Cari Higgins (Boulder, Colo./Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) – points race
Cycling fans can watch a re-cap of all the action from Apeldoorn during a two-hour show on the Universal Sports network on Sunday, April 3rd at 7:00 p.m. EST.

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