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Duanesburg's Emma White ready for World Championships in Berlin

Duanesburg's Emma White ready for World Championships in Berlin

Competition in Germany this week is last step to possible spot on Olympic team for Duanesburg High, Union College grad
Duanesburg's Emma White ready for World Championships in Berlin
Emma White of Duanesburg warms up before a ride in Delmar last summer.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Napping was not an option.

Emma White's transatlantic flight out of Newark, New Jersey, was delayed, so she was two hours late getting to Berlin, Germany on Friday, on top of the expected jet lag.

The Team USA cyclists were told not to nap. Just stick to your usual sleep habits.

Still, she was her typically cheerful and alert self on the phone, and why not.

The 22-year-old Duanesburg High and Union College graduate has one more big competition to hit, the UCI Track Cycling World Championships beginning on Wednesday, then will wait for Team USA to make the official May 1 announcement of the cyclists who will compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Having spent the better part of the last two months at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, White is prepared to make the final significant step toward her goal of making that team. Although track cycling -- multiple laps around a banked Velodrome -- is relatively new to her, she has established herself as a prime candidate to get to the Olympics in the team pursuit category.

"This is a pretty big teller," she said. "Everything is up in the air. It's a big confidence boost to get selected for this [world championship] team, but nobody's comfortable until the selections come out on May 1. I try not to count my chickens before they're hatched."

White competed for Team USA at worlds for the first time last year in Poland, where the Americans were seventh in qualifying and lost to Germany in the first round after having won the team pursuit gold medal in 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics.

Berlin is the last stop on the UCI World Cup tour, and the Americans are looking to improve on their performance at Milton, Ontario, in late January, when the Americans failed to reach the medal round.

Team USA, led by mainstays Chloe Dygert and Jennifer Valente, will need to be on their toes in Berlin, White said, because these World Championships occur in an Olympic year, "so everybody will show up with their tip-top team and it'll be a lot more competitive. Then it's only a couple short months before the Olympics."

Team USA was scheduled to get on the Berlin Velodrome track Saturday for a short leg-stretcher, and will follow that routine up to the competition.

The worlds are scheduled for Wednesday through next Sunday, but White's event will be done by Thursday. Qualifying in women's team pursuit is Wednesday, followed by the first round and finals on Thursday.

"All the hard work is done," she said. "We'll just try to get the travel out of our legs, nothing crazy.

"I'm a little bit more familiar and a little bit more confident in myself and my team this time. Last year was about getting the jitters of the first one out of the way. This year, there's nothing to lose, and we have a really strong team. We were all in Colorado, and I think we're all in really good shape."

White said there is some extra pressure on Team USA because its short World Championships streak was stopped last year.

The team has also been using the season to pay tribute to Kelly Catlin, a silver medalist on the 2016 Olympic team who died by suicide in March of last year at the age of 23.

She was a member of the gold-medal teams at the World Championships in 2017 and 2018, and was also a pro teammate of White's with Rally Cycling.

"It weighs heavily on the team," White said. "The thing about her, this whole season, we know she's been with us."

Reach Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

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