Sarah Hammer sets new World Record for the Individual Pursuit


Current World Champion, American, Sarah Hammer, competing in the Panamerican Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico yesterday (12th May), took the Individual Pursuit record by two seconds.


The new World Record time of 3:22:269 was set during the qualifying rounds at the new velodrome in Mexico, at an altitude of 1,870 meters.  The previous record, set by New Zealander, Sarah Ulmer, at sea level during the Athens Olympic game in 2004.


Earlier this year Great Britain’s Wendy Houvenhagel had said “Sarah Ulmer’s record is very special and it was recorded during exceptional and unique conditions during the Athens Games in 2004.  With the current situation of the individual pursuit having recently been culled from the Olympic track events programme for 2012, I would suspect her record may stand for a very long time.”


Clearly the velodrome in Mexico offered a new set of unique conditions for Hammer, who had continued training after taking the World Championships earlier this year in Poland.


It was in fact Ulmer’s World Record of 3:24.537 that had drawn Hammer out of retirement and given her the inspiration to train again.  She came back to the sport in 2005, after a break of several years and won her first World Pursuit Title in 2006 in Bordeaux.  She went on to retain the title in 2007, in Mallorca.  She suffered a setback however during her preparation for the Beijing games, with an ongoing back injury, but was on form again for the World Championships this year in Denmark. 


After the World Championships she trained at altitude, based out of the UCI’s training centre in Aigle, Switzerland in preparation for the World Record attempt.


In a show of excellent sportsmanship, Ulmer, the first New Zealander to ever win an Olympic Gold in cycling, was one of the first to send congratulations to Hammer after she broke the record.


Sarah Hammer at the World Championships in Poland, 2010



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