This past weekend, American professional cyclist Jennifer Valente made history. The 27-year-old from San Diego, California—who races on the road for the TWENTY24 Pro Cycling trade team—scored the biggest victory of her career with an emphatic win in the Omnium track cycling event at this summer’s biggest sporting competition in Tokyo, Japan. Not only did Valente earn victory, she did so after suffering a crash midway through the Points race—the fourth and final event in the Omnium. After remounting her bike, she proceeded to power to the front of the field, eventually taking second place in the final sprint to solidify her lead in the overall rankings and capture the title. Here’s how it all went down.
Valente started the competition in the best way possible, with a win in the opening event—the Scratch race. Then, in the Tempo race, Valente rode hard and used her tactical saavy to secure a third-place finish. Next up was the Elimination race—always a fan-favorite event—and Valente again rode strong and intelligently to mark her rivals and finished in fourth. That led to the final Points race, where Valente sealed the overall win with an inspiring and gutsy performance.
After crossing the finish line, Valente enjoyed a victory lap, then sat down on the track draped in an American flag, gloriously overcome with emotion, and soaked in the moment as her fellow athletes and the few coaches and staff members allowed in the arena applauded her victory. Later, she credited her success to her USA Cycling coaches and teammates—especially her relationship with her fellow Team Pursuit squad members, with whom she had captured a third-place result earlier in the summer competition—as well as the unique opportunity that the COVID-19 pandemic afforded the team to focus on their training.
“Our Team Pursuit program was a big focus of the last couple of years, and the last year we had the Team Pursuit riders living and training in Colorado Springs, and I think that was a huge contributing factor,” Valente said in a post-race press conference. “To be around my teammates and pushing each other, every day, in different training sessions. Both this journey with my teammates and the staff, it was a joint effort.”
From the entire Felt Bicycles family, we want to congratulate Jennifer Valente on her incredible victory. Thank you, Jennifer, for inspiring us to race our bikes with passion and pursue our biggest dreams.
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