SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diegan Jennifer Valente won an Olympic bronze medal Tuesday in women’s team pursuit cycling, as the United States was 2.512 seconds faster than Canada in the 4-kilometer race.
The U.S. team of Valente, Megan Jastrab, Chloe Dygert and Emma White were credited with a time of 4 minutes, 8.04 seconds at the Izu Velodrome in Shizuoka, Japan, 110 miles south of Tokyo. The time is determined by the third cyclist of the four-member team to cross the finish line. Canada’s time was 4:10.552.
The U.S. bid for a gold medal ended when it lost its first-round heat to Great Britain, which set a world record, 4:06.748, breaking the previous record of 4:07.307 set by Germany in qualifying Monday. The U.S. was timed in 4:07.562, faster than any time in history before Monday.
The U.S. faced Great Britain in its heat because it posted the third- fastest qualifying time, while Great Britain had the second-fastest time.
Great Britain’s record lasted only until the next heat, when Germany regained the record as it was timed in 4:06.159 to advance to the gold medal race against Great Britain.
The United States and Canada raced for the bronze medal because they had the two fastest first-round times.
Germany set another world record, 4:04.242, in winning the gold medal race over Great Britain.
In team pursuit, the two opposing teams start on either side of the track. The winner is the team that catches the other team or records the fastest time. A team is caught when the opposing team comes within one meter of the other.
The medal was the second for Valente, who won a silver medal in team pursuit in the 2016 Rio Games.
Valente will race twice more in the Tokyo Games — Friday in the Madison, where teams of two riders take turns to race in a 30-kilometer endurance relay, and Saturday in the omnium, a multiple-race event.
The 26-year-old Valente grew up in San Diego riding mountain and BMX bicycles around her neighborhood with her brothers. Valente’s father Thomas raced bikes in the 1980s, and she grew up listening to race stories. She participated in many sports as a youth, including soccer, baseball and swimming.
Encouraged by her father’s love of riding bicycles, when she was 14 she attended youth classes at the San Diego Velodrome and was drawn in by the uniquely contained environment in which she could push herself.
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