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USA’s Hammer Wins World Cup Pursuit Gold in LA

January 22, 2006 (Carson, Calif.) – Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif.) began her Saturday with a new track record in the women’s individual pursuit at the ADT Event Center velodrome and ended it with a commanding gold medal performance over 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Marie Calle Williams of Colombia.

Hammer clocked a time of three minutes, 37.799 seconds in the morning qualifying round to surpass the previous track record of 3:38.325 set by Australia’s Katie Mactier at the 2005 World Championships last March. The mark earned Hammer the top seed in the gold medal round and set up a head-to-head match with the second-seeded Wililams who turned in a qualifying time of 3:41.955.

In the final, Hammer bested Williams in front of a sold-out crowd by nearly five seconds to take both the win and the overall UCI World Cup series lead.

“I really wanted to win and take the world cup lead in front of a hometown crowd,” said the Southern California resident. “I was definitely pumped with the crowd.”

Hammer’s win on Saturday is the latest in a short list of significant accomplishments since she began riding competitively again after announcing her retirement from the sport. In the last five months, the 22-year-old also captured an elite U.S. title and a silver medal at a world cup this past December.

“This week has been about a year since I started training again,” said Hammer. “I thought I was done. I was sick and didn’t want to look at a bike anymore. But this is very motivating. Truthfully, I never dedicated myself to cycling like I do now. Now it’s my life.”

Hammer will now turn her attention to the world championships, forgoing the final round of the world cup in March to focus on the rainbow jersey in April.

American riders continued to flourish as 19-year-old Michael Blatchford (Cypress, Calif.) captured his first-ever elite world cup medal with a third-place performance in the men’s sprint.

After qualifying fifth with a 200 meter time of 10.552 seconds, Blatchford disposed of Jamie Staff (GBR) and Jose Villanueva (ESP) in the 1/8 finals and the 1/4 finals respectively. In the ensuing semifinals, Blatchford was matched against eventual winner Gregory Bauge (FRA), but fell in two straight sprints, setting up a bronze medal match against Poland’s Lukasz Kwiatkowski. Blatchford took the first and third sprints from Kwiatkowski to solidify the bronze and give the United States its third medal on the weekend.

Blatchford’s presence in the final four of the men’s sprint was the first time since 2003 that an American has advanced that far in a world cup. “It’s just going to keep on going,” assured Blatchford. “We’re going to go so far. With all of us working together – USA Cycling, Team Spike, TIAA-CREF – it’s just really beginning to blossom. It all just builds our confidence.”

Other U.S. sprint performances included a ninth-place effort from Christian Stahl (Bethany, Conn.). Stahl qualified eighth with a 10.589, but then was dealt a tough match, paired against reigning keirin world champion Teun Mulder (NED). After losing to Mulder, Stahl bested Damian Zielinski (POL) in two straight sprints to earn a top-ten finish.

Giddeon Massie (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Ben Barczewski (Breinigsville, Pa.) placed 27th and 28th respectively after posting qualifying times of 10.858 and 10.910 seconds.

Other U.S. performances included a solid seventh-place effort from the upstart TIAA-CREF team pursuit squad of Danny Pate (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Michael Creed (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Michael Friedman (Boulder, Colo.) and Brad Huff (Boulder, Colo.). The foursome posted a 4:16.418 in the qualifying round of the 4km event.

Friedman also went on to place tenth in the men’s 30km points race, winning one intermediate sprint and scoring five points on the evening.

Day Two Results:

Men’s Team Pursuit

1. KLIMOV Serguey , ROVNY Ivan , SEROV Alexander , TRUSSOV Nikolay RUS 4:11.309; 2. HEIMANS Levi, JONKMAN Geert-Jan, MOURIS Jens, TERPSTRA Niki NED 4:13.090; 3. ESCOBAR ROURE Sergio, FERRER GARCIA Guillermo, MUNTANER JUANEDA Sebastian David, TORRENT TARRES Carlos ESP 4:14.159. 7. CREED Michael, FRIEDMAN Michael, HUFF Brad, PATE Danny USA 4:16.418.

Women’s 500m Time Trial

1. TSYLINSKAYA Natallia BLR 34.426; 2. GUO Shuang CHN 34.824; 3. HIJGENAAR Yvonne NED 35.182.

Women’s Individual Pursuit

1. HAMMER Sarah USA 3:41.512; 2. CALLE WILLIAMS Maria Luisa COL 3:46.114; 3. ARUSTAMOVA Yulia RUS 3:47.711 .

Men’s Sprint

1. BAUGE Gregory FRA; 2. BOURGAIN Mickael FRA; 3. BLATCHFORD Michael USA; 9. STAHL Christian USA; 27. MASSIE Giddeon USA; 28. BARCZEWSKI Ben USA.

Men’s Points Race

1. IGNATIEV Mikhail RUS 34; 2. TAMOURIDIS Ioannis GRE 30; 3. LLANERAS ROSSELLO Joan ESP 28; 10. FRIEDMAN Michael USA 5.

UCI Track World Cup – Day Three Preview – Sunday, January 22.

The final day of the three-day competition will feature the finals in the women’s scratch race, the men’s madison, the women’s keirin and men’s team sprint.

The United States will be well-represented as individual pursuit gold medalist Sarah Hammer, points race silver medalist Becky Quinn (Team Spike/Quakertown, Pa.) and Sima Trapp (Boise, Idaho) ride in the women’s scratch race.

In the madison, the Americans will have two teams with TIAA-CREF represented by Michael Friedman and Chad Hartley (Boulder, Colo.), and Team Spike will be represented by Ryan Luttrell (Boulder, Colo.) and Kevin Suhr (Boulder, Colo.). Stephen Alfred (Capitola, Calif.), Ben Barczewski and Giddeon Massie will race in the men’s team sprint for Team Spike, along with national team members Kevin Belz (Irving, Texas), Michael Blatchford and Christian Stahl.

For a compete world cup schedule, visit www.uci.ch or www.uscycling.com.

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