RIO DE JANEIRO – Sarah Hammer (Colorado Springs, Colo.) rode off with the silver medal in the women’s omnium at the Rio Olympics after winning the battle for second against Belgian Jolien D’Hoore in a close points race on Tuesday afternoon.
Laura Trott (GBR) earned the gold medal.
“I’m so, so excited,” Hammer said. “Of course you always want to take a medal but when you’re talking about two days and six events, absolutely anything can happen. I’m so thankful that everything went into play.”
Following Monday’s scratch race, individual pursuit, and elimination race, Hammer was ranked third behind Trott and D’Hoore going into the final three events on Tuesday.
With the fifth best time of 35.366 in the 500-meter time trial on Tuesday, and the fifth best time of 14.081 in the flying lap, Hammer went into the final event – the points race – tied for second.
Pre-points race, the American had 172 points and shared the second-place spot with D’Hoore while Trott had 196 points after picking up three wins and two second-place finishes in the first five events of the omnium.
The points race featured 100 laps of racing with sprints for points every 10 laps. The event came down to a battle between Trott, Hammer and D’Hoore to determine which spot each of the three would occupy on the medal stand.
The trio consistently earned points in the sprints, but by about 38 laps remaining, Trott had a 31-point advantage over Hammer and D’Hoore, and it became clear that the American was in a race for silver.
“Jolien is an amazing racer,” Hammer said. “That’s her specialty is the points races. She’s absolutely phenomenal on the road. She thrives in the pack, same on the track. I knew that it was going to be a big ask to try to match her in the sprints.”
Hammer clung to a one point advantage over D’Hoore for a number of laps before increasing that lead to two points with one sprint remaining. When it came down to the final sprint, Hammer had the legs to edge out D’Hoore and ended the points race with 34 points (same as Trott), while D’Hoore amassed 27.
“There’s nothing I could have said that I could have done better I’m very proud of myself and my team. Everyone that has helped me put effort into this race, that was my gift to them – to do the best I could do.”
Up next for U.S. cyclists will be the BMX seeding runs which begin on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Representing the USA will be Brooke Crain (Visalia, Calif.), Connor Fields (Henderson, Nev.), Nic Long (Lakeside, Calif.), Alise Post (Chula Vista, Calif.), and Corben Sharrah (Tucson, Ariz.).
Photo by Rob Jones/USA Cycling