Apeldoorn, Netherlands – Sarah Hammer will again wear the Rainbow Jersey in 2011 after taking the Individual Pursuit World Championship in dramatic fashion. Hammer, the defending Individual Pursuit World Champion, took her second medal of the 2011 Championships after leading the Team Pursuit to a Silver yesterday. The win is Hammer’s fourth Individual Pursuit World Championship.
Hammer looked strong in the qualifying round, motoring to a 3:33.52. The time was the fastest in qualification, besting 2009 New Zealand’s Alison Shanks by .27 seconds. With Hammer and Shanks in the Gold Medal round, the stage was set for a battle between two Pursuit World Champions.
In the finals, Shanks took off quickly and established an early lead over Hammer. At the end of the first kilometer, Hammer trailed Shanks by a quarter second. Shanks continued to push the pace, and with one kilometer remaining, Hammer was down nearly a full second to the Kiwi. But Hammer demonstrated her prowess in the pursuit once again in the final laps, narrowing the gap to less than a tenth of a second with one circuit remaining. In the final 250 meters, Hammer powered past Shanks, taking the championship win by .3 seconds.
With the victory, Hammer successfully defended her World Pursuit Title, and looks to be on top form for the Omnium which begins competition tomorrow.