17 Jan 2009

Shanks, Sergent win golds at World Cup cycling in Beijing

11:46 am on 17 January 2009

The New Zealand cyclists Alison Shanks and Jesse Sergent have both won gold in the individual pursuit finals at the UCI World Cup in Beijing.

It's the first World Cup finals for both Shanks and Sergent, who returned to the scene of their Olympic success for the wins.

The Dunedin rider Shanks, who was fourth at the Beijing Olympics, emphatically beat Latvia's Vilija Sereikaite, the current World Cup individual pursuit points leader, in a personal best of three minutes 30.685 for the 3000-metres.

That's a full two seconds under her best time at the Olympics and nearly a full second under her previous best set in the qualifying run on a cold Laoshan track in the morning.

Earlier Sergent, of Feilding, claimed the gold when he caught Ukraine's Vitaliy Shchedov shortly after the three-kilometre mark in the 4000-metre final.

Sergent was the key member of the Beijing Olympic bronze-medal winning team pursuit and was top qualifier in a New Zealand record of four minutes 17.962.

Sergent was more than nine seconds faster than his nearest challenger in qualifying.