Cycling Southland sprint queen Natasha Nansen continued her strong showing at her second ever UCI World Cup with a new personal best in Women's Sprint qualifying in London this morning.
Hansen qualified seventh fastest in the women’s sprints in 11.282, just 0.3s behind Olympic champion and top qualifier Anna Meares (Australia).
She lost her round of eight clash against Australian Kaarle McCulloch, with a photo finish needed to separate the pair after Hansen attacked around the final bend and was a blink away from rolling over her opponent.
She then lost to Spain’s Clara Sanchez in the B quarterfinal to finish 13th overall.
Elsewhere Simon van Velthooven continued to impress, pushing through to the final of the keirin.
Van Velthooven dominated his opening heat, moving into the lead and covering all challengers as he moved through to the semifinals where he finished second to qualify for the star-studded 1-6 Final.
He attacked early to claim his spot behind the derny and then attack as soon as the motorbike pulled off the track with two and a half laps to go. It took the field a long time to reel him in but ultimately the man known as Rhino was swamped down the long finishing straight in London to finish sixth overall with the title going to living legend Sir Chris Hoy, his 51st World Cup medal.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Alison Shanks was second fastest in the women’s 3000m individual pursuit, clocking 3:33.578 in her qualifying ride to be 0.8sec behind Great Britain’s Joanna Rowsell and claimed silver in a closely fought gold medal ride against Great Britain's team pursuit starter.
In the Men's Omnium, New Zealand's Shane Archbold finished a disappointing 14th, his cause not helped by a crash in the qualifying ride yesterday. Canterbury's Jo Kiesanowski started the Women's Omnium slowly after finishing 15th in the Flying Lap and 19th in the Points race before bouncing back to end the opening day with 6th in the Elimination. She sits in 15th place at the halfway mark, 20 points off third place.
The World Cup finishes tomorrow morning at the London Olympic Velodrome with Eddie Dawkins and Sam Webster in Men's Sprint (qualifying from 10pm Sunday NZ time), Natasha Hansen and Katie Schofield in the Women's Keirin (first round from 11.20pm) and the Men's Team Pursuit riding for bronze (around 4.30am Monday NZ time).