United States National Track Championships
October 5 - 8, Carson, California
After breaking an 11-year drought with a world title in the women's three-kilometre individual pursuit in April, Sara Hammer (Ouch Pro Cycling) eclipsed another 11-year-old mark Wednesday, setting a new national record in the same event during the opening session of the USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships at the ADT Event Centre. In the ensuing finals Wednesday evening, Hammer added another national title to her résumé, catching silver medalist Katie Compton (Spike) six laps into the 12 lap race.
Hammer clocked a time of 3 minutes, 32.865 seconds to smash the previous national record of 3:36.08 set by Rebecca Twigg in Bogota, Colombia in 1995. When Hammer won the world championship in Bordeaux, France six months ago, it was the first time in eleven years an American captured an elite women's world title on the track - a feat also last accomplished by Twigg in 1995.
Hammer's qualifying time shaved over four seconds off her personal best of 3:37.194 - a mark she set in the qualifying round of this year's world championships. In addition to a new personal best and a new national record, Hammer also surpassed the ADT Event Centre track record - a mark she already owned after clocking a 3:37.799 at the UCI World Cup in January.
"I had hoped to break the national record," explained Hammer of her pre-race strategy. "That was the goal. Obviously being world champion I wanted that record, but I didn't want to think about it too much because it's only October and training has just started. My times in training have been consistent with what would be on pace to do that, but I didn't think I'd be riding a 3:32, that's for sure. I was thinking maybe a 3:35."
Hammer's accomplishments bookend an impressive year for American women in endurance cycling events. After Hammer notched a world championship in April, Kristin Armstrong (Team Lipton) and Christine Thorburn (Webcor-Platinum) rode to gold and bronze respectively in the time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in September.
Hammer's latest achievement puts her one step closer to her ultimate goal.
"It makes me confident and a little hungry for that gold medal in Beijing," she stated. "I want that gold medal. That's what I would like to walk away with when I walk away from cycling - world champion, Olympic champion, and at some point, world record holder."
Neva B. Day (South Bay Wheelmen) won the bronze medal over Christen King (Young's Training Group) to round out the top three in the women's pursuit.
1. Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif.)
2. Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
3. Neva B. Day (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
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