"It's a super solid race for us," Richardson said. "I actually think it's the best team pursuit that we've had all season, technique-wise and staying together. It's definitely our fastest low-land, so we can take that away from this race. Obviously the best placement we've had this whole games. Hopefully we can get that fifth spot."
On the other end of the spectrum, the Netherlands sealed its 22nd speedskating medal of the games with two dominant performances. Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Koen Verweij routed France by 8.70 seconds in the quarterfinals and then went even faster in the semifinals, nearly lapping Poland and winning by 11.30.
They will face South Korea in Saturday's final, assured of at least a silver.
The Dutch women have a little more work to do, because the semifinals and final are both Saturday. But Ireen Wust, Lotte van Beek and Jorien ter Mors gave every indication that they'll make it 23 medals for the Orange Wave, which would be an Olympic record.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.