28 Feb 2011

Hansen sets sights on London Olympics for women sprinters

8:02 am on 28 February 2011

Southland's Natasha Hansen was the fastest women on wheels winning all four sprint events in a dominant display at the national track cycling championships that finished in Invercargill last night.

Hansen, formerly from Christchurch but now based in Invercargill, set two new national records in the process.

She beat Elizabeth Steele (Canterbury) and Henrietta Mitchell (Auckland) to win the keirin final and clocked a superb 356.718 to win the 500m time trial by 2/10ths of a second from Kate Scholfield.

The 21-year-old air traffic controller trainee is now convinced she can plot a path to next year's London Olympics after rejuvenating her cycling career last year.

Southland's Tom Scully, coming back to the sharp end of the sport after time out following a massive crash last year, has put his hand up for selection to next month's world championships after winning the six-discipline omnium.

International Simon van Velthooven (Palmerston North) was too strong in winning the men's sprint in two straight rides against Southland's Matt Archibald.

Levin's Gemma Dudley impressed in winning the women's 10km scratch race in an impressive effort ahead of Southland's Sequoia Cooper and Steele with Waikato's Rushlee Buchanan back in seventh.

South Canterbury's Jason Christie is pushing his world championship hopes after outlasting Scully and Jason Allen to win the men's scratch race.

World championship hopefuls Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell teamed with James Vercoe to edge their way to victory in the team sprint over hosts Southland with Archibald, Sean Fox and a gallant Eddie Dawkins who returned to the track after his heavy fall in last weekend's world cup in Manchester.