5 Jun 2012

More cyclists named for London Olympics

1:52 pm on 5 June 2012

Three BMX riders and a mountainbiker have been added to the New Zealand cycling team for the London Olympics.

Beijing Olympians Sarah Walker and Marc Willers along with Tauranga's Kurt Pickard are the BMX riders while Whakatane's Karen Hanlen will be the sole representative cross-country mountain bike representative.

Walker finished fourth in the final when BMX made its Olympic debut in Beijing. The 23-year-old went on to win the world title the following year in Adelaide and took out the UCI Supercross World Cup overall honours last year.

Willers, also from Cambridge, is now based in California and he credits the move to the ultra-competitive environment as a key to his rise in the sport last year, winning the US National title, the Oceania and North American continental honours and a number of key events including the Supercross World Cup titles and the test event in London.

Pickard was the 2010 New Zealand champion but after a serious crash racing in Europe, he took some time out of the sport.

Hanlen, a 32-year-old mother of two only took up the sport in 2010. She won the domestic national series and Oceania titles this year.

She had been locked in a battle for selection with Beijing Olympian Rosara Joseph this year, before Joseph broke her wrist in a crash.

The New Zealand Olympic team now stands at 93 and is expected to rise to approximately 185 over the next month. Upcoming selections include Bike - Road, Equestrian - Eventing, Hockey and Football.