Natasha Hansen will chase her third title on the penultimate day of the Vantage national track cycling championships in Cambridge today.
The Southland rider dominated her semifinal in the keirin competition ahead of the final tonight at the Avantidrome.
She will come up against defending champion Stephanie Mckenzie, New Zealand Cycling teammate Katie Schofield and last year’s national junior champion Olivia Podmore as the favoured riders in tonight’s final.
Hansen won the 500m time trial on the first night and the sprint title last night, both in national record times.
She won her semifinal impressively from McKenzie and Canterbury’s Gemma Payne, while Podmore scorched away to win the other semifinal from Auckland’s Hannah Baynard and Schofield.
The men’s keirin battle will feature the experienced Olympic medallist Simon van Velthooven and world championship time trial medallist Matt Archibald against the rising stars in the Cycling New Zealand sprint programme, Ben Stewart (Southland), Zac Williams (Auckland) and Jeremy Presbury (Southland) along with Manawatu’s Jordan Castle.
Van Velthooven, who won the 1000m time trial on the opening day, took out his semifinal from Archibald while Presbury edged out Stewart in the other semifinal.
Last year’s winner Sam Webster along with fellow sprint podium placegetters Eddie Dawkins and Ethan Mitchell, have bypassed the keirin competition to prepare for the team sprint tomorrow.
In Under-19 action, Southland’s Bradly Knipe topped qualifiers in the individual sprint, clocking 10.676 which was 2/100ths of a second outside the New Zealand Championship record. He will take on Manawatu’s Campbell Stewart in tonight’s best-of-three final.
Both dominated their semifinals, winning in two straight rides with Knipe – a pure sprinter up – against Stewart, an endurance rider who won two junior world titles last year.
Defending champion Emma Cumming (Southland) was fastest in the women in 11.787s, the only rider under 12 seconds. She will meet Auckland’s Olivia Ray in the final.
Tonight’s action will feature the keirin and under-19 sprint finals, the elite women scratch race, elite men’s points race and Para-Cycling tandem pursuit final.
Day 3, qualifying results:
Women’s keirin first round: Heat 1: Katie Schofield (Otago) 1; Lisa Hunkin (Wellington) 2; Hannah Bayard (Auckland) 3. Heat 2: Natasha Hansen (Southland) 1; Jaymie King (Waikato BOP) 2; Tess Young (Waikato BOP) 3. Heat 3: Olivia Podmore (Canterbury) 1; Stephanie McKenzie (Southland) 2; Hannah Latta (Wellington) 3.Repecharge: Heat 1: Bayard 1, Payne 2, Latta 3. Heat 2: Young 1, Dunn 2, Bryant 3. Semifinal: Heat 1: Podmore 1, Bayard 2, Schofield 3. Heat 2: Hansen 1, McKenzie 2, Payne 3.
Men’s keirin first round:Heat 1: Ben Stewart (Southland) 1; Simon Van Velthooven (West Coast North Island) 2; Fabian Wybrow (Southland) 3. Heat 2: impress Matt Archibald (Southland) 1; Sam Dakin (Auckland) 2; Daniel Rafferty (Canterbury) 3. Heat 3: Jeremy Presbury (Southland) 1; Zac Williams (Auckland) 2; Jordan Castle (West Coast North Island) 3. Repecharge: Heat 1: Castle 1, Wybrow 2, Eccles 3. Heat 2: Rafferty 1, Cuff 2, Jones 3. Semifinal: Heat 1: Presbury 1, Stewart 2, Castle 3. Heat 2: Van Velthooven 1, Archibald 2, Williams 3.