Team USA successfully defended its gold medal in the women’s team pursuit final Thursday at the 2017 UCI Track World Championships in Hong Kong with a heart-pounding victory over Australia.

The team of Kelly Catlin (Rally Cycling), Chloe Dygert (Sho-Air TWENTY20), Kim Geist (PA Masters p/b Piscitello Law) and Jennifer Valente charged out to an early lead of more than a second in the first kilometer, but Australia battled back to take the lead at the 2,500-meter mark. From there, the lead changed hands three more times.

Heading into the bell lap, Australia led by 0.412 seconds, but Dygert moved to the front to drive Team USA to the come-from-behind win and turn the deficit into 0.417-second victory. The Americans’ winning time was 4:19.413, with Australia clocking in at 4:19.830.

“That was a fantastic battle with a very good Australian team,” said Jim Miller, USA Cycling Vice President of Athletics. “We had a fight to the very end. Hats off to the Aussies, they rode a great race.”

Earlier in the day, Team USA posted a time of 4:18.716 to defeat Italy (4:19.958) and advance to the gold medal match. New Zealand beat Italy for the bronze.

Also on Thursday, Zak Kovalcik (Toronto Hustle) finished seventh in the men’s scratch race. Adrian Teklinski (POL) took the win, edging Lucas Liss (GER) and Christopher Latham (GBR).

Competition resumes on Friday where Kovalcik will be back in action in the men’s points race, and Sarah Hammer (Performance United – FELT) will challenge the women’s omnium.

Visit tissottiming.com for live timing and schedules. The event will also be streamed live on httpnbcsports.com  and the NBCSN app. Coverage begins at 1:30 a.m. EDT.

2017 UCI Track World Championships
Hong Kong
April 12-16, 2017
FULL RESULTS PHOTO GALLERY

Women’s Team Pursuit Gold Medal Round
1. United States – 4:19.413
2. Australia – 4:19.830

Men’s Scratch Race
1. Adrian Teklinski (POL)
2. Lucas Liss (GER)
3. Christopher Latham (GBR)
7. Zak Kovalcik (Portland, Ore./Toronto Hustle)