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Women’s individual pursuit podium (l-r): Alison Shanks (New Zealand), Sarah Hammer (USA) and Vilija Sereikaite (Lithuania).
BikeNZ rider using race as part of 12-month build up
Alison Shanks is training in the US road season in preparation to win a second world pursuit title at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships held in April in Melbourne, Australia. She is currently competing under the BikeNZ outfit at the Cascade Cycling Classic where she placed second at the stage three road race that finished atop a daunting ascent to the Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort in Bend, Oregon.
"Everything we are doing here is built around the London Olympics for the team pursuit, that is what this squad is aiming for, and I have goals in the individual pursuit at the World Championships," Shanks told Cyclingnews. "This is what we are here building towards."
The BikeNZ team is based in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania during the summer months where they can train at the Lehigh Valley Preferred Cycling Center Velodrome. The team competing in the US also includes Kaytee Boyd, Lauren Ellis, Jaime Nielsen and Gemma Dudley. The track team also includes Rushlee Buchanan, who competes for Colavita-Forno D’Asolo and Jo Kiesanowski, who races for Tibco-To the Top.
"We’ve been going to Trexlertown for years because it has great training, it’s close to the racing and the track is there," Shanks said. "We have the national track team here to train for our winter and then we head back for the track season."
BikeNZ has competed at the Nature Valley Grand Prix, Tour de Toona, prior to arriving to the Cascade Cycling Classic. Shanks opened the six-day event with a sixth place at the prologue. She went on to place seventh in the stage two time trial and second place in the stage three road race.
She is currently sitting in eighth place overall with two stages to go.
"The reason we do this is to get a good base in our legs before the track season," Shanks said. "The racing we do in the US is very important because we are looking for that endurance base and it really pushes you and extends you when you are racing. You can’t really do that when you are going out and training by yourself."
In 2009, Shanks won the world pursuit title in Poland and went on to win the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games the following season. "I would like to try and get that rainbow jersey again in Melbourne in March," Shanks said. "I would like to win the individual pursuit and the women’s team pursuit as well. We will only have the team pursuit at the Olympics because the individual pursuit has been scratched. So my ambition is with the team pursuit there."