Hammer stuns Shanks to defend world pursuit crown

By Staff Reporter
AFP American Edition

Mar 25, 2011 17:57 EDT

American Sarah Hammer launched a stunning fightback to defend her 3km pursuit title against New Zealand's Alison Shanks at the world track cycling championships Friday.

Shanks had led from the outset of the 12-lap race, taking a 0.2sec lead over the veteran American at the 1km mark to a massive one-second advantage four laps later.

Hammer, however, had the crowd on their toes thanks to a late rally in the final three laps which saw her come home in a winning time of 3min 32.933sec.

Shanks finished in 3:33.229 to take the silver. Earlier, Vilija Serekaite beat another Kiwi, Jaime Nielsen, to win the bronze.

Hammer claims her fourth world title in the individual pursuit, which is now no longer on the Olympic programme.

Despite its impending absence from the London Games, Hammer aims to compete in the team event and the inaugural omnium competition in 2012.

Asked about her stunning fightback, Hammer said it all came down to who wanted victory the most.

"I knew it was going to come down to the last 500 metres, the last lap. We both wanted it so bad," said the American.

"We both had one hand on the jersey and in the end it was just about who was going to tear it away.

"It's one tiny moment to give it everything you have. Don't leave anything out there. Every pedal stroke, up and down, everything."

Hammer will now compete in the six-event omnium which begins on Saturday.

"The pursuit is one of six for the omnium, it's a good start. And I'm glad to have the rainbows on. Tonight I can look at it before I go to sleep," she added.

"It's so special."

Source: AFP American Edition


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