Entering the 2020 UCI Track World Championships in Berlin, Germany, Team USA’s Team Pursuit squad had something to prove.
Despite having previously won titles in 2016, 2017, and 2018, and sporting two new members to the team in Emma White and Lily Williams, they were going up against a powerful Great Britain squad that beat them in the gold medal finals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
After blasting through the qualifying rounds of the four-kilometer event, the scene was set. It was going to be a rematch – Team USA vs Team Great Britain.
A quarter of the way through the main event, Team USA’s Chloe Dygert, Jennifer Valente, White, and Williams had built a gap that continued to grow. By the end, they regained the title of World Champions by 1.894 seconds.
Allison Beveridge, riding for Team Canada, fell short in the bronze medal final after starting strong against host nation Germany. On Saturday, three-time junior world champ Megan Jastrab will make her Elite Track World Championships debut, racing the Madison with Valente.
“I’m still blown away. It feels like a dream! I’ve been in the running for the rainbow stripes a couple of times at a couple different world championships, but haven’t earned them until now. This team is so special and works so hard. It feels so good to be able to give that back.
“Early on, in the qualifying round, GB set the bar really high with a fast time so we knew it would be a challenging race. We were able to win qualifying and kept the momentum going through first round and finals.
“The final was only two hours after first round, so it was a quick turnaround. I think this is a strength of our team, so we weren’t panicked about it. Halfway through the ride, Gary (our coach) was giving us splits off of GB, and we knew we had some significant time on them. It was all about holding it together and keeping it smooth for the last couple of laps, and we were able to do it!
“I’ve been living in the dorms at the Olympic training center since January 4th. We won the last World Cup in Milton in January but knew we still had a lot of work to do to pull this off.
“Leading up to Berlin, the team would spend four to five days at the track, twice a day preparing for this. Because it’s such a team effort, we really have to be on the same page on and off the bike. We are lucky to be so close and work so well together.”
“I’m feeling unreal. Like I’ll wake up and it will all be a dream and I’ll have to ride three more pursuits, haha. But the feeling is incredible. All I have is gratitude for my teammates and coaches and staff who took me in and helped me do the work necessary to improve enough to be here.
“We train together nonstop. At this point, we are also basically living together in Colorado Springs. It’s a 100% life commitment from everyone involved. But we are all in. As we see each other improving, we’re even more strongly motivated to work hard.
“Next, it’s home for a few weeks. I’ll actually be going to the National Bike Summit in DC as well. Then back to the springs to jump into training and then finally the first road races of the season are upon us!”
Notably missing from the team’s launch in Minneapolis, MN and training camp in Oxnard, CA, were Rally Cycling’s four Olympic hopefuls. They have put in the work with one pursuit, the top step of the Olympic podium.