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Hammer stuns Shanks to defend world pursuit crown

2011 UCI track world championships, Sarah Hammer
Hammer in the pursuit qualifyer earlier Friday. Photo: Casey B. Gibson

APELDOORN, Netherlands (AFP) – American Sarah Hammer launched a stunning fighback 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 0.2 second 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 3:32.933 seconds.

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

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

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