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Jennifer Valente gives US second gold medal in as many days at cycling world championships

By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer

Jennifer Valente kept the Americans atop the podium at the cycling world championships on Friday.

The Olympic champion in the multidiscipline omnium, Valente bided her time in the peloton for most of the 40-lap endurance event known as the scratch race. But with one lap to go, the 28-year-old from San Diego sprinted around the outside of Poland’s Daria Pikulik in Turns 1 and 2, then held off Dutch rider Maike van der Duin at the line to capture the gold medal.

New Zealand’s Michaela Drummond beat out reigning champ Martina Fidanza of Italy for bronze.

“At the very beginning of the competition. There’s a lot of racing to go,” said Valente, who is also part of the U.S. pursuit team and will be contesting the Madison, elimination race, points race and the omnium during a busy stay in Glasgow, Scotland.

Valente was second in the scratch race in 2020 and third two years ago in Roubaix, France.

“It’s really exciting,” Valente said, “but just trying to refocus, actually, on the rest of the races.”

In the men’s team sprint, and a rematch of last year’s final, the Dutch team of Roy van den Berg, Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland avenged its loss to Australia by the slimmest of margins — 35 hundredths of a second for the three-lap race.

The Netherlands led by a tenth of a second after the first lap, but the Australian team of Matthew Richardson, Leigh Hoffman and Matthew Glaetzer clawed most of the gap back by the bell lap. That left Hoogland and Glaetzer in a one-lap sprint for gold, and the Dutch rider narrowly clipped his Australian rival to capture his fifth team sprint world title.

“I looked at the scoreboard and I saw that we were a little behind, then we were in front, then we were behind,” said van den Berg, who peeled off first and anxiously watched the times for the last two laps. “It was a rollercoaster of emotions.”

“It feels good to have that jersey back,” added Lavreysen, part of the Dutch team that won Olympic gold in Tokyo in 2021.

France rallied from a slow start to defeat Britain for the bronze medal.

In the women’s 500-meter time trial, sprint star Emma Hinze of Germany trailed Australia’s Kristina Clonan after the first of two laps inside the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. But the six-time world champion in various events rallied over the second lap, stopping the clock in 32.820 seconds to add a seventh rainbow jersey to her closet by a tenth of a second.

Clonan, a former runner who transitioned to cycling, took the silver medal. Lea Friedrich gave Germany a second rider on the medal stand when the 2021 world champion edged Britain’s Sophie Capewell for bronze.

Last year’s world champion, Taky Marie-Divine Kouame of France, failed to qualify for the finals.

Meanwhile, the golden ride by reigning omnium world champion Valente built on a fast start for the Americans in Scotland.

One day earlier, Valente’s team pursuit teammate Chloe Dygert roared to dominant win in the individual pursuit, lapping her opponent in the finals of their 12-lap race. And earlier Friday, Valente and Dygert joined Olivia Cummins and Lily Williams in posting the third-fastest time in team pursuit qualifying.

Dygert also has a busy world championships program with the road race and time trial still to come.

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AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

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