Valente, Lea set track records en route to omnium titles

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Jennifer Valente set three track records en route to her omnium win at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships in Rock Hill, S.C.

Jennifer Valente set three track records en route to her omnium win at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships in Rock Hill, S.C. (photo by Weldon Weaver)

Rock Hill, S.C. (August 13, 2014) -- The first four Stars-and-Stripes jerseys were handed out Wednesday during the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships at the Giordana Velodrome in Rock Hill, S.C. National champions were crowned in the men's and women's international omnium, as well as the men's and women's time trial.

 

Nineteen year-old Jennifer Valente (San Diego, Calif./TWENTY16 Pro Cycling) and 19-time national champion Bobby Lea (Mertztown, Pa./Custom Velo) both set multiple Giordana Velodrome track records en route to their respective omnium wins. Valente's time of 37.167 in the 500-meter time trial broke the previous mark of 37.851 set by Cari Higgins. She also broke the track record in the 3-kilometer individual pursuit with a clocking of 3:48.100, shattering the old mark of 3:53.951 held by Kimberly Geist, and broke another of Higgins' marks (15.312) in the flying lap with a winning time of 15.110.

 

In the end, Valente posted 218 points to hold off an aggressive challenge from Beth Newell (Oakland, Calif./JAKROO Racing Team) who placed second with 205 points. Erica Allar (Tuscon, Ariz./Colavita-Fine Cooking) took the bronze medal with 192 points.

 

"Most of the summer I've been working a lot on the pursuit, so that was one of the events that I was more confident in," said Valente. "With the new omnium format, putting the points race at the end, and the total omnium points being added to by the points race points, it definitely changes the whole dynamic of the race as a whole and puts more weight on the points race. So that was something I was very aware of, even throughout the other events, so it made for some interesting racing, certainly for the end for the spectators."

 

Even with a 14-point lead over Newell heading into the points race, Valente knew that anything could happen.

 

"I think again with the new format, even something that you could consider a comfortable lead is not comfortable if someone takes a lap. You always have to be aware that those 20 points are up for grabs if someone is off the front. So you try to keep it together and get points in every sprint, and just chip away."

 

Bobby Lea captured his 19th national title with his omnium win at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships in Rock Hill, S.C.

Bobby Lea captured his 19th national title with his omnium win at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships in Rock Hill, S.C. (photo by Weldon Weaver)

Lea, the defending omnium champion, won four of the first five events, then left no doubt in the points race as he twice lapped the field to add 40 points to his total. He also broke two track records, in the 1km time trial and in the 4km individual pursuit by nearly 12 full seconds, as he tallied 245 points, 55 more than his closest competitor, Adrian Hegyvary (Asheville, N.C./UnitedHealthcare). Jacob Duehring (Irvine, Calif./Horizon Organic-Einstein Bros Cycling) came in third with 179 points.

 

Also successfully defending a national title on Wednesday was Matthew Baranoski (Perkasie, Pa./Custom Velo) in the men's 1km time trial. His time of 1:04.486 was more than three seconds faster than silver medalist Conor Klupar (Fall City, Wash./Marian University) who stopped the clock at 1:07.887. Rounding out the men's time trial podium was William Myers (Carmichael, Calif./Marc Pro - Strava) with a time of 1:08.853.

 
Mandy Marquardt (Allentown, Pa./Team Novo Nordisk) is the new national champion in the women's 500-meter time trial as she posted the day's fastest time of 36.098. Gea Johnson (Scottsdale, Ariz./Ride-Faster.com), last year's bronze medalist, moved up to the second step of the podium this year with a clocking of 36.517. Defending champion Missy Erickson (San Pedro, Calif./Momentum Coaching Group) took the bronze medal with a time of 36.958.

Competition resumes Thursday with the early rounds of the sprint competition as well as finals in the individual pursuit and miss-and-out. The event runs through Sunday.

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