Date: Thursday, 18 February 2016

Southland's Natasha Hansen is pleased with the way she is riding heading to next month's World Championships in London.

The 26-year-old leaves on Monday for her second UCI Track Cycling World Championships more confident than she was four years ago at the event.

"It has been good to see some great results and going better than I ever was," she said.

"It is exciting for me, I am going a lot faster, it is great to be able to go to the World Champs again knowing that I can be competitive with the faster girls and I can chase medals."

The Cambridge based ride is getting faster after riding in all of the World Cup events this season.

"I have been improving right through the season and getting faster and better results."

She will ride for New Zealand in the individual sprint and keirin along with the team sprint with new teammate Olivia Podmore from Christchurch. 

The former Cantabrian was in impressive form at the recent Elite New Zealand Track Cycling Championships in Cambridge.

Hansen ended the meeting with four sprint titles, two records and increased confidence heading towards the world champs.

She won the 500m time trial in 34.209 seconds which was 0.15s faster than the mark set by fellow Southlander Steph McKenzie at the 2015 national championships.

The 26-year-old also lowered McKenzie's mark in the Flying 200m sprint qualifier when she clocked 10.893s, which was 0.1s inside the previous national record.

Hansen wasn't the only Southlander breaking national records at the event, as Eddie Dawkins clocked 9.901 to shave 0.15s off the previous record, breaking the 10 second barrier in the men's sprint.

Hansen and Dawkins will be joined by fellow Southlanders Piet Bulling, Nick Kergozou and Matt Archibald in the 18-strong squad national squad.

There were several national records broken in the under-19 events as promising Southland duo Emma Cumming and Bradly Knipe continued their success, processing times which would see them beat many elite riders. 

Cumming claimed the 500m time trial in 35.195s, along with the standing lap and the team sprint record with Ellesse Andrews.

While Knipe took out the 1000m time trial with a national record time of 1.02.965 to go with his standing lap and a team sprint record

Meanwhile, Knipe joined team mates Hamish Beadle and Mitchell Morris to take the New Zealand record for the team sprint in 46.715 ahead of 47.775 set by Tom Beadle, Jeremy Presbury and Zac Williams at the Junior Worlds held in Invercargill in 2012.

Southland are in pole position for provincial bragging rights with 69 points as they look to retain the shield as the leading team at the national track cycling championships.

They have a handsome lead over second placed Auckland on 41, going into the New Zealand Age Group Track Cycling Championships at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome starting on March 9.

Photo and article courtesy Stuff

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