Sarah Hammer on Saturday delivered America’s first medal at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships in Hisense Arena in Melbourne. Hammer won the bronze medal in the women’s omnium in a seesaw battle with Tara Whitten (CAN). In reaching the podium in the women’s omnium at the world championships, Hammer has earned an automatic nomination to the 2012 Olympic team.
Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling) and Whitten each totaled 11 points in the first day of the omnium, but Hammer held the edge due to better individual finishes.
In the first omnium event of the day, Whitten broke the tie between the riders by winning the individual pursuit while Hammer placed second, giving Whitten a one-point lead. Hammer finished the three-kilometer race in 3:31.651 while Whitten registered a 3:30.011. Laura Trott (GBR), who would eventually win the omnium, finished third in the individual pursuit after recording a 3:31.789.
In the omnium’s second-to-last contest, the scratch race, Hammer marked Whitten throughout the 40-lap competition. Whitten was unable to shake the defending women’s omnium silver medalist from her wheel throughout the race until Hammer made her move with two laps remaining. Hammer drilled it for the final 500 meters, passing Whitten, and Joanne Kiesanowski (NZL) slipped in between her and Whitten. Hammer finished ninth while Whitten placed 11th, giving Hammer a one-point edge for third place in the omnium standings. After the scratch race, the omnium standings tightened as Hammer moved within five of Trott for the overall lead and three of Annette Edmondson (AUS) for second place. Leire Olaberria Dorronsoro (ESP) won the scratch race.
The two contestants for the bronze medal were paired against each other in the penultimate heat of the 500-meter time trial. Hammer glided around the track, finishing in 36.171, two-tenths of a second faster than Whitten, securing the bronze medal. Hammer found a higher gear in the second half of the race, traversing the final 250 meters in 15.243 while Whitten turned her last lap in 15.366. Trott prevailed in the time trial with a time of 35.173 to secure her spot atop the podium.
In the final omnium standings, Trott finished with 28 to earn the gold medal while Edmondson took the silver with 31. Hammer finished with 36 to earn the bronze medal, just three points ahead of Whitten, who finished fourth.
“It definitely feels good,” Hammer said of winning bronze. “I’m super happy. It was a race to the end. It was everything on that 500 between Tara and me. I had to win. We were paired up. It was a good practice run with the pressure and nerves. To come out on top was definitely a good feeling. ”
2012 UCI Track World Championships
April 4-8, 2012
Women’s Omnium IV – Individual Pursuit
1. Tara Whitten (CAN) 3:30.011
2. Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling) 3:31.651
3. Laura Trott (GBR) 3:31.789
Women’s Omnium V – Scratch Race
1. Leire Olaberria Dorronsoro (ESP)
2. Jolien D’Hoore (BEL)
3. Sofia Arreola Navarro (MEX)
9. Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling)
Women’s Omnium VI – Time Trial
1. Laura Trott (GBR) 35.173
2. Annette Edmondson (AUS) 35.180
3. Mei Yu Hsiao (TPE) 35.933
4. Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling) 36.171
1. Laura Trott (GBR) 28
2. Annette Edmondson (AUS) 31
3. Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling) 36