Shanks claims 500 metre title

Dawkins gets men's title on opening day

Christchurch sprinter Adam Stewart has grabbed the first title of the RaboPlus New Zealand Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill today. Stewart took out the 250m time trial, held for the first time as a test event to kick off the three-day championships.

The Christchurch rider clocked 18.171 for the standing one lap on the boards at the ILT Velodrome to edge out Auckland teenager Ethan Mitchell, who had won the qualifying match, by 3/100ths of a second. Stewart’s victory has given him confidence he can earn the spot as the lead-off rider for the team sprint in the upcoming world championships.

“This was my major aim for the week really,” Stewart said. “I’ll be riding for a good time personally in the individual sprint and have a really good crack at the keirin.

“I got the lead-off role at the World Cup in Beijing and that’s the spot I want for the World Championships,” he added.

Mitchell, the lead-off rider for New Zealand’s Junior World Championship victory last year, was the top qualifier in 18.205, and held a slight edge at the midway point in the final before Stewart edged him on the line. Beijing World Cup sprint winner Eddie Dawkins (Southland) recovered from a slip at the start of the ride-off for third and fourth with a brilliant second half to claim the bronze position.

National sprint record-holder Natasha Hansen (Canterbury) took out the women’s final in 20.800 to edge out Otago’s Katie Schofield by 3/100ths of a second.

In the evening session, Southland star Eddie Dawkins smashed his New Zealand with a world class performance to highlight the opening night. Dawkins, 20, clocked 1:01.524 to win the men's 1000m time trial, taking 6/10ths of a second off the national record he set a year ago.

His time was among the fastest in the world this year, bettered by only two riders in UCI World Cup events this year.

World pursuit champion Alison Shanks showed she also has plenty of speed when she took out the 500m time trial when she edged national sprint champion Natasha Hansen (Canterbury) with a superb ride.

Dawkins, who won the sprint honours at the recent Beijing World Cup, produced a stunning performance tonight to thrill the home crowd.

It was a performance that Dawkins has been chasing.

"I haven't ridden that well for a year and so I really wanted to pull out a big ride tonight, especially in front of the home crowd," Dawkins said.

"The training has been going really well. And I was really pleased with the performance in Beijing. I thought I might not have to do the kilo anymore but I guess after this they will want me to," Dawkins joked.

He has set his sights on the upcoming world championships and selection to the Commonwealth Games.

"Anything is possible. 1:01 at the age of 20 is not bad. It was pretty pleasing and encouraging."

While she's currently the world's best in the endurance event, Shanks gained real satisfaction from taking out the raw sprint event.

"After all the endurance mileage we were unsure where my top end was at, and it's good to know we still have some. I am really rapt in that," Shanks said.

"I am now looking to top up the raw power and strength now. It's great to be able to race, even the mentality of getting out on the start line and sitting in the start gates.

"I was stoked with the win. It backs up the win I got in this event last year. It shows it wasn't a fluke.

"We can just build on this now. We have plenty of time until the big one in Copenhagen and it's pretty satisfying to know that there's some useful speed to start with."

Hansen led Shanks through the halfway point by half a second but the world champion sued her strength to come home in 36.108s, with her Canterbury opponent 2/10ths of a second behind.

Levin teenager Gemma Dudley, who won four medals in the world junior championships two years ago, finished third as the only other rider under 37 seconds, while renowned road rider Jo Kiesanowski (Canterbury) showed impressive speed to finish fourth.

It was also the first event in the five-event omnium, which will become an Olympic discipline for London 2012.

Earlier Christchurch sprinter Adam Stewart grabbed his first individual title with he took out the 250m time trial, held for the first time as a test event.

The Christchurch rider clocked 18.171 for the standing one lap to edge out Auckland teenager Ethan Mitchell by 3/100ths of a second.

Hansen took out the women's final in 20.800 to edge out Otago's Katie Schofield by 3/100ths of a second, going on to win her second medal in the 500m time trial in the evening.

Tomorrow's racing features the keirin, individual pursuit and points race for both men and women.

Results

Women’s 250m time trial qualifying
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Natasha Hansen (Canterbury)0:00:20.848 
2Katie Schofield (Otago)0:00:21.160 
3Hannah Latta (Wellington)0:00:21.498 
4Tiffany Parry (Auckland)0:00:23.066 
Gold ride-off
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Natasha Hansen (Canterbury)0:00:20.800 
2Katie Schofield (Otago)0:00:21.100 
Bronze ride-off
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Hannah Latta (Wellington)0:00:21.494 
2Tiffany Parry (Auckland)0:00:22.837 
Men's 250m time trial qualifying
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ethan Mitchell (Auckland)0:00:18.256 
2Adam Stewart (Canterbury)0:00:18.290 
3Eddie Dawkins (Southland)0:00:18.310 
4Matthew Archbold (Otago)0:00:18.812 
Gold ride-off
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Adam Stewart (Canterbury)0:00:18.171 
2Ethan Mitchell (Auckland)0:00:18.025 
Bronze ride-off
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Eddie Dawkins (Southland)0:00:18.814 
2Matthew Archbold (Otago)0:00:18.845 
500m time trial, Women
1Alison Shanks (Otago)0:00:36.108 
2Natasha Hansen (Canterbury)0:00:36.405 
3Gemma Dudley (WCNI)0:00:36.916 
1000m time trial, Men
1Eddie Dawkins0:01:01.524 
2Wes Gough (ECNI)0:01:03.827 
3Peter Latham (Waikato Bay of Plenty)0:01:04.889 

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