Track Cycling: Jennifer Valente wins omnium gold for USA

Jennifer Valente got up from a crash in the omnium-ending points race to hang on for the gold medal. Yumi Kajihara took silver for Japan. Kirsten Wild earned bronze for the Netherlands.

Jennifer Valente of the United States holds a U.S. flag as she celebrates winning gold.   -  REUTERS

Jennifer Valente got up from a crash in the omnium-ending points race to hang on for the gold medal, capping what had been an otherwise frustrating and disappointing Olympics for American cycling.

Valente won the opening scratch race, picked up three sprints in the points race and performed well in the elimination race to take an eight-point lead into the points race, where points are awarded for sprints every 10 laps.

Track cycling: Laura Kenny crashes in opening omnium event but able to continue  

Valente won the first sprint to pad her lead, then got up from a crash with 30 laps left to keep from losing any ground on her pursuers. She wound up taking second in the final sprint to secure the gold medal.

Yumi Kajihara took silver for Japan. Kirsten Wild earned bronze for the Netherlands.

Laura Kenny, who finished sixth after crashing in the opening ominium event said she had a mountain to climb. "Well, you might as well end the year the way you started it. Just couldn’t make it up. After that, I hit them so fast because I was obviously just about to come over and bam, I literally had nowhere to go," she told BBC after the race.

"The tempo race I just rode off adrenaline and then we only had 20 minutes and when I got into the elimination race I just felt really tired instantly and I just thought ‘this is bad’ and then I always ride on the inside when my legs are hurting even though in my head I’m saying ‘you need to get out because you are in the worse place’ but you can’t do anything because all you’re thinking is ‘make it easy, make it easy’.

"Then in the points race, I had nothing to lose. I just wish we had got a lap and then obviously I would have jumped up the standings."

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