6 Mar 2016

Hansen into sprint quarter-finals

6:40 am on 6 March 2016

Sprinter Natasha Hansen has continued her recent good form to qualify for the quarterfinals of the women's sprint competition on the penultimate day of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London.

New Zealand track cyclist Natasha Hansen.

New Zealand track cyclist Natasha Hansen. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hansen was sixth in qualifying over the flying 200m time trial and then produced two excellent wins in the opening two rounds of elimination competition to move into tomorrow's quarterfinals at the London Velodrome.

It is already her best international performance to push into the top eight sprinters in the world.

Meanwhile world team sprint gold medallist Sam Webster has finished seventh in the men's sprint competition.

He lost out to triple Olympic gold medallist and double world champion Jason Kenny (GBR) 2-0 in the quarterfinals, the man the Kiwi beat for the gold medal in the sprint final at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.

26 year old Hanson qualified sixth fastest in 10.949s for the flying lap on a sluggish track to be only 0.2s behind top qualifier Stephanie Morton (AUS) and ahead of luminaries including Anna Meares. It was a fraction outside the national record she set in Cambridge last month.

She beat Germany's double junior world champion Emma Hinze in the first round, and came over the top of former Olympic speed skating medallist Laurine van Riessen (NED) in the second round.

"Natasha has progressed well over the last month. Back from the World Cup in Cambridge, her progression has been excellent," said sprint coach Anthony Peden.

"She delivered this morning what we have known and always thought she was capable of, which was a top six qualifying ride against some big names. That was very impressive.

"She then executed two very good technical rides and did exactly as we had planned. She should be very happy to achieve a top eight already and look to face the sharp end of the competition tomorrow.

"Confidence is the big thing. She is getting belief in herself and she is growing that. She has out-qualified some very big names and then seen some big names fall in the elimination competition and she is still there."

Hansen takes on defending world champion Kristina Vogel (GER) in tomorrow's best of three race quarterfinal.

Webster also secured a top eight world ranking, finishing seventh in the men's sprint competition.

He found Kenny in outstanding form in front of a packed home crowd, with the British rider winning in two straight rides in the quarterfinals.

Webster finished third in the ride-off for fifth to eighth behind winner Fabian Puerta Zapata (COL), a world championship medallist, and Gregory Bauge (FRA, a nine time world champion.

In other action Aaron Gate was 17th in the 1000m time trial and 16th in the flying lap with the points race to come to complete the men's six-discipline omnium competition.

Lauren Ellis was 20th in the scratch race and eighth in the individual pursuit with the elimination race to come to complete the first day of the women's omnium.