San Diego’s Jennifer Valente wins World Championship Title

Jennifer Valente wins Olympic Gold

Jennifer Valente (San Diego; Virginia’s Blue Ridge TWENTY24) has made her mark on the cycling world, winning her first individual elite world title at the 2022 UCI Track World Championships, and became one of the few riders to claim both World Champion and Olympic Champion concurrently.

When asked about winning this event and at the Tokyo Games, Valente said, “Winning this event was certainly a goal, well before the Olympics. I achieved the Olympic dream before this one, but this really had been on the forefront of my mind for a long time. I’m really pleased with this win.”

While this is Valente’s first individual Elite World Championship win, she shares four Team Pursuit world titles with her teammates. She said, “It definitely means a lot. The team gold medal is special in a completely different way. Every team world title that I’ve won has been with a really special group of people. But this is just a completely different experience.”

In addition to Valente’s outstanding performance, Grant Koontz (Nederland, Colo.; Star Track) raced to sixth in the Men’s Points Race, the best an American has placed at a World Championship since 2009.

Women’s Omnium

The Omnium is a four-in-one best all-around endurance event, where riders work to gain the most points throughout a Scratch Race, Tempo Race, Elimination Race, and Points Race. Valente wore the red, white, and blue of the U.S. to take on the event where she won Olympic gold. Starting with the Scratch Race, Valente showed up ready to race. Sitting towards the back of the peloton until five laps remained, she followed Maike van der Duin (NED) to the front and attacked immediately, taking the win.

In the second event, the Tempo Race, Valente had a more challenging time as a group of five riders took off late in the race. The group pushed themselves to gain a lap, each earning 20 points and taking a significant jump on the rest of the field. Again, Valente reacted, but not before the final bell ended the race. She was sixth in the race earning nine points.

In the evening session, Valente dominated the third event of the Omnium, the Elimination Race, in which she earned a Bronze on Thursday. With three laps to go, it was down to the race leader, van der Duin, Elisa Balsamo (ITA), and Valente. Valente outpaced both riders over the next four laps with a massive burst of speed to secure her win in the event.

Valente used skillful tactics to control the race in the final event of the Omnium, the Points Race. She took a point sprint early on, allowing her to ride more defensively through the remainder of the race. At the halfway point, Valente marked van der Duin as her closest competition and did not let her out of sight. In the penultimate sprint, she managed to keep van der Duin at bay long enough to ensure her victory.

When asked what it means to race the Omnium, Valente said, “The [Omnium] is an overall event. People have good races and bad races, and you just have to be consistent. The most consistent rider is the one that wins. Sometimes that means winning individual events. Sometimes it doesn’t.”

The race was hard fought for Valente, she said, “There’s no cruising in this race. There was a lot of tough competition. A lot of up-and-coming young riders. A lot of people ready to really dig deep and go hard, to put their name on the board, to be a favorite at the next race.”

1. Jennifer Valente (USA) – 118 pts

2. Maike van der Duin (NED) – 109 pts.

3. Maria Martins (POR) – 99 pts.

Report – USA Cycling / Photo Credit USA Cycling and Casey Gibson

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