Date: Thursday, 05 April 2012
Posted by: Cycling Southland


New Zealand will fight it out for the bronze medal in the women’s team pursuit on the second night of finals at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne.

They clocked their second fastest time ever in 3:20.598 which proved just the fourth fastest time after an astonishing qualifying session at the Hisense Arena today.

The kiwi trio of Alison Shanks, Jaime Nielsen and Lauren Ellis will take on Canada tonight after the North Americans set the early pace in 3:19.494.

Hosts Australia stunned everyone with a brilliant 3:17.053 to smash the world record by more than a second.

Not to be outdone, defending champions Great Britain went faster again to break the world mark with a 3:16.850.

Earlier Natasha Hansen qualified 13th in the women’s sprints, setting a new personal best of 11.166 seconds on a morning where Australian world champion Anna Meares regained her world record with a 10.782 effort in qualifying.

The Southlander has finished provisionally 13th overall in the UCI rankings with every major meet resulting in a new best time for the 22-year-old who mixes life as an elite athlete with a career as an air traffic controller.

She was edged out by Cuban Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez by half a wheel in the round of 16 but is nonetheless pleased with her season.

“I really only got the opportunity in the last six months and I have to be really pleased with that. My first big meet I went 11.6 seconds which was pretty good. So within six months I’ve taken half a second off that and now producing world class times.

“It’s not over yet. I want to put in a good performance in the keirin and hopefully then I’ve done enough to get selected for London.

“Whatever happens I am really excited now about the development of the women’s sprint programme going forward.”

Results, women’s sprint qualifying: Anna Meares (AS) 10.782, 1; Shuang Guo (CHN) 11.004, 2; Miriam Welte (GER) 11.033, 3. Also: Natasha Hansen (NZL) 11.166, 13.

Round of 16: Hansen lost to Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez (CUB)

Women’s 3000m team pursuit qualifying: Great Britain 3:16.850, 1 (world record); Australia 3:17.053, 2; Canada 3:19.494, 3; New Zealand (L Ellis, J Nielsen, A Shanks) 3:20.598, 4.


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