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USA Cycling athletes take home nine medals at Pan American Games

By: Kelly Fox  August 15, 2019

USA Cycling athletes took home nine medals, at the Pan American Games which were contested between July 26 and August 11, 2019.

The competition started in the velodrome where the 11 track cyclists, Christina Birch (Los Angeles), John Croom (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Chloe Dygert-Owen (Brownsville, Ind.), Kimberly Geist (Emmaus, Calif.), Adrian Hegyvary (Ashville, N.C.), Daniel Holloway (Boulder, Colo.), Gavin Hoover (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Ashton Lambie (Lincoln, Neb.), Jennifer Valente (San Diego), and Lily Williams (Ashville, N.C.), and Danny Summerhill (reserve) (Centennial, Colo.), competed across six different events winning five gold medals and one silver.

Holloway was the first to strike gold winning the Omnium, a multiple race competition where the winner is calculated by total points accrued through the four events. He bested Mexican cyclist Ignacio Prado Juarez scoring 181 points throughout the competition to Prado Juarez’s 168.

“It was close racing from the start of the Omnium. Going into the Points Race it was about keeping a cool head and being consistent and taking advantage of opportunities as they came,” said Holloway, “We knew the second half of the race was where we could make a big impact if the racing had been hard, and that’s what happened. I was getting great information from the coach all race which helped in the hard moments. I’m so happy to have executed and delivered a gold medal performance for Team USA here in Peru and the Pan American Games.”

Continuing the trend, the women’s Team Pursuit squad of Dygert-Owen, Birch, Geist, and Williams earned the gold medal, beating Canada, who won in at the last Pan American Games.

“I feel honored to earn a gold medal at such a prestigious event as the Pan American Games,” said Geist, who was part of the squad who won the 2017 and 2018 World Championships, “It is such great preparation for the Olympic Games atmosphere. I am looking forward to our team continuing to build this season towards this ultimate goal.”

Men's Team Pursuit during their gold medal ride.

The following day, the Men’s Team Pursuit, consisting of Hegyvary, Hoover, Lambie and Croom beat the Columbian squad to win the third gold medal of the competition. Later that same day, Valente exhibited her dominance on the track winning another gold for Team USA in the women’s Omnium.

“It means the world to me to be riding with these guys,” said Croom, who is a newcomer to the squad, “This is my first international Team Pursuit with the squad, so to win gold at the Pan American Games is a dream come true and an experience that really makes all the sacrifices worth it.”

Birch & Geist on the podium.

The final events which U.S. riders competed in on the track was the Madison, a two-person race. The American pairs of Birch and Geist for the women and Hoover and Hegyvary for the men earned Gold and Silver medals respectively.

After winning gold on the track, Dygert-Owen took to the road in the women’s Time Trial. As the 2015 Junior World Champion in the event, she easily took home gold, winning the event by over one minute.

“Today was special because four years ago Kelly [Catlin] won this event at the Pan American Games,” said Dygert-Owen, “I’m happy I was able to win this today.”

After the Time Trial, the cycling attention turned to BMX. In BMX Supercross, USA Cycling sent top young athletes to gain experience against some of the best BMX racers in North and South America. Cameron Bramer, 18 (Pittsburg, Penn.), Sophia Foresta, 20 (South Jordan, Utah), and Cameron Wood, 17 (Avondale, Ariz.) competed for Team USA. Wood and Foresta went out in the semi-finals and Bramer competed in the quarter-finals.

Roberts during her ride.

In the final days of the Pan American Games, 2017 World Champion, Hannah Roberts (Buchanan, Mich.) easily won the inaugural gold medal in BMX Freestyle while 2018 World Champion, Justin Dowell (Virginia Beach, Va.) took bronze in the event, which made its Pan American Games debut in advance of its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

“Today was unforgettable. I am so happy to be able to take the win at the first ever BMX Freestyle contest at the Pan American Games,” said Roberts, “I didn’t do everything I wanted to but I’m still happy to have stayed on the bike. I can’t wait for the rest of the season.”

“While we are very happy with the results- seven gold medals, one silver and a bronze- for USA Cycling athletes and staff, this Pan Am Games was more about learning from the experience of a multisport Games as part of Team USA so that we can better achieve our goals at the Olympics next year and in five-years-time,” said Scott Schnitzspahn, USA Cycling’s Vice President of Elite Athletics, “The Peruvians were great hosts and Lima 2019 did a great job organizing the cycling events and the Games in general.”

The Pan American Games are held every four years, the year prior to the Olympics. It is a multi-sport event governed by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). This year’s Pan American Games took place in Lima, Peru from July 26 through August 11, 2019. For more information on the Pan American Games go here.

Visit USACycling.org for more information on the athletes, events and membership programs, and follow @USACycling across all channels for the latest on Team USA.