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World champion Alison Shanks fired a warning shot to her opposition hen she broke the national record in heats on the second day of the RaboPlus New Zealand Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill.
Shanks clocked 3:30.180 at the ILT Velodrome to slip under the New Zealand record she set on the track a year ago to set the fastest qualifying time in the women’s 3000m individual pursuit
Her time was less 38/100ths of a second outside the time she set in winning the world championship in Poland and faster than her winning effort in the recent Beijing World Cup.
She will ride off against Mid-Canterbury rider Lauren Ellis who produced a massive personal best of 3:36.027 to force her way into the gold medal ride.
“That felt really great, the best I’ve felt on the track for a while,” Shanks said. “I know I am stronger and with six weeks to go to the world championships it’s a real confidence boost to know that I am right up close to my personal best this far out.”
Their fellow BikeNZ team pursuit squad members Kaytee Boyd (Auckland) and Rushlee Buchanan (Waikato Bay of Plenty) will ride for the bronze medal.
Waikato’s Peter Latham topped qualifiers in the men’s 4000m individual pursuit and will meet fellow world championship medallist Wes Gough in tonight’s final.
Latham clocked 4:20.438 to qualify for his first New Zealand final while Gough (Waipukurau) was a second back to earn a spot in his second national individual pursuit final, after finishing runner-up to Hayden Roulston two years ago.
The ride-off for bronze will see Beijing Olympic medallist Marc Ryan (Timaru) against Tasman’s Jason Allen, who qualified after a re-run when he suffered a flat tyre.
Earlier all the big guns qualified through to tonight’s finals in the keirin with national sprint champion Natasha Hansen and Auckland’s Rosy McCall winning the women’s heats.
In the men’s competition triple junior world champion Sam Walker, fellow junior world team sprint teammate Ethan Mitchell, kilo record setter Eddie Dawkins and New Zealand representative Simon Van Velthooven are all through.
Keirin qualifiers women, heat 1: Natasha Hansen (Canterbury) 1, Kate Mullarkey (Auckland) 2. Heat 2: Rosy McCall (Auckland) 1, Hannah Latta (Wellington) 2.
Men, heat 1: Ethan Mitche1l (Auckland) 1, Eddie Dawkins (Southland) 2. Heat 2: Sam Webster (Auckland) 1, Andy Williams (Auckland) 2. Heat 3: Simon Van Velthooven (West Coast North Island) 1, Matthew Archbold (Otago) 2.
Women’s 300m individual pursuit top qualifiers: Alison Shanks (Otago) 3:30.180, 1; Lauren Ellis (Mid South Canterbury) 3:36.027, 2; Kaytee Boyd (Auckland) 3:39.079, 3; Rushlee Buchanan (Mid South Canterbury) 3:40.853, 4.
Men’s 4000m individual pursuit qualifiers: Peter Latham (Waikato Bay of Plenty) 4:20.438, 1; Westley Gough (East Coast North Island) 4:21.369, 2; Marc Ryan (Mid South Canterbury) 4:25.938, 3; Jason Allen (Tasman) 4:28.359, 4.