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Sarah Ulmer of New Zealand set a world record for the women’s 3000-meter individual pursuit at the track cycling world championships Thursday in Melbourne, Australia.
The 28-year-old set a time of three minutes, 30.604 seconds, during the first round of qualifying in Melbourne, just days after she narrowly missed the mark at a World Cup meet in Sydney.
Ulmer’s time sliced more than two-tenths of a second off the previous world record of 3:30.816, which Leontien Ziljaard-Van Moorsel of the Netherlands set on her way to winning gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
“I am just elated. My boyfriend was giving me the call, so I knew,” Ulmer said. “I’m absolutely stoked, but I don’t want to get carried away just yet.”
Ziljaard-Van Moorsel said she was not surprised to see her record fall after Ulmer got within three-tenths of a second last week.
“A record that was standing for four years is likely to be broken, it’s normal that some should break it now,” the Dutchwoman said. “She is in really good shape right now, and it is good for her to do it.”
Ziljaard-Van Moorsel finished fifth in Thursday’s qualifying session, but is still in heavy training and said she would not be at her peak until the Athens Olympics, starting on August 13.
“I am happy with this time, for the moment,” she said.
“When the track is hot enough I think it will be possible (to regain the record), and when I am at the right condition.”
Australia’s Katie Mactier, a silver medalist at last year’s world championship, was also expected to challenge the record. She was fastest through the first 200m but faded badly in the final laps after being struck down by flu last week.
“It would take more than a cough and cold to keep me away, but it’s fabulous preparation for Athens,” Mactier said. “Sarah is a class act. I am thrilled for her. It’s not a surprise that she broke the world record.”