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Shanks wins first world title in women's pursuit

New Zealand's Alison Shanks

New Zealand's Alison Shanks (Image credit: Gerry McManus)

New Zealand's Alison Shanks, making her first appearance in a world championship final, won the gold medal in the women's individual pursuit on the opening night at the UCI World Track Cycling Championships in Pruszkow, Poland. The 26-year-old Shanks covered the 3000m distance in 3:29.807 to defeat Beijing Olympic silver medalist Wendy Houvenaghel (Great Britain), the fastest in qualifying, by more than two seconds.

Shanks' medal is only the 11th ever won by a New Zealand cyclist in the UCI Track Cycling Championships dating back nearly 40 years, and the third in the women's pursuit following the gold won by Sarah Ulmer in 2004 at Melbourne and the silver by Madonna Harris at Maebashi in 1990.

Lithuania's Vilija Sereikaite won the women's individual pursuit bronze medal with a time of 3:33.583 against Great Britain's Joanna Rowsell, who finished in 3:35.209.