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Sarah cycles to first place

01 August 2002

The women's 3,000m Individual Pursuit was the lone event in the morning session at the National Cycling Centre today.

Sarah Ulmer

New record for New Zealand's Sarah Ulmer

There was no shortage of excitement for the spectators as three consecutive riders broke Australian Alayna Burns 1998 Commonwealth Games record of 3:40.389.

Of the nine riders entered, only one would be dropped after the session and Hsu Min Chung of Malaysia, the first to ride, was the one to go. However, her time of 4:04.085 broke the existing Malaysian record.

In the next heat, Canada's Erin Carter set the new benchmark for the 12 laps with a 3:42.616, but that time lasted only a matter of minutes. Australian Alison Wright, riding against Canada's Clara Hughes, was the first to break the record.

Wright finished fourth in the Women's Points Race and seemed determined to avenge that result. Her time of 3:35.605 smashed Burns' Kuala Lumpur effort by five seconds.

A re-start was called in the next heat, England's Emma Davies versus Australia's Katherine Bates, when Davies foot slipped out of her pedal.

Bates, the Points Race gold medallist, won the eventual race on the way to cutting a further three seconds off Wright's time, finishing in 3:32.913.

That meant defending champion Sarah Ulmer of New Zealand had to beat her personal best to qualify fastest, and she did.

Ulmer overtook England's Sara Symington on the penultimate lap on her way to a new women's 3,000m Commonwealth record of 3:32.504. She commented:

"I feel chuffed, absolutely stoked. It's a personal best so I've got to be happy with that. It was one of my goals coming into the event so that's one of them accomplished anyway."

Ulmer discussed the Australians' record breaking performance before her: "I knew it had to be a huge ride. I think deep down I knew I was capable of going faster than I've gone before, I was capable of doing a personal best but you don't know by how much until you get out there."

"It has been fantastic for a Commonwealth evemt. That was top three in the world's last year I imagine."

On what she hopes to achieve at the Games: "I'm thinking past the next ride. I'm not thinking about medals, I'm just thinking about the next ride and going faster than I have done. Performance, not the outcome."

"Anything is possible."

The women's 3,000m Individual Pursuit final takes place at the National Cycling Centre tomorrow evening.

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