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New Zealand cyclist Alison Shanks will ride off for the bronze medal on the opening night of finals at the UCI World Track Cycling Championships in Copenhagen.
The reigning world champion managed the third fastest time in the qualifying heats at the Copenhagen Velodrome and will take on Lithuania’s Vilija Sereikaite in the bronze medal ride.
Shanks clocked 3:31.259 in her qualifying run, behind a stunning 3:27.826 from American Sarah Hammer, the fastest time since Sarah Ulmer’s world record at the Athens Olympics.
Hammer will take on Great Britain’s Wendy Houvenaghel in the gold medal ride after the Brit, last year’s silver medallist, rode 3:30.377.
Shanks seemed to be on schedule for a sub-3:30min ride after unleashing a 1:07.976 second kilometre following a conservative opening kilo. The kiwi eased to a 1:10.898 final kilometre with her time 88/100ths of a second behind the British rider in a time slower than her New Zealand record set at Invercargill at the nationals last month.
The New Zealander beat Sereikaite in the World Cup final at Beijing in January.
Teammate Jaime Nielsen produced a highly creditable 3:37.212 to finish seventh fastest in her first ride at a world championships. The Hamilton rider, first off from the 22 starters in today’s qualifying, built well after a conservative start with her time was not bettered until late into the competition.
The evening programme at Copenhagen includes the men’s team sprint qualifying, Tom Scully in the points race and Shanks in the medal ride in the 3000m individual pursuit.
Result, Women’s 3000m Individual Pursuit, qualifying:
Sarah Hammer (USA) 3:27.826, 1; Wendy Houvenaghel (GBR) 3:30.377, 2; Alison Shanks (NZL) 3:31.259, 3; Vilija (LTU) 3:31.905, 4. Also: Jaime Nielsen (NZL) 3:37.212, 7.