Sarah Walker Wins Oceania Champs
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Kawerau Olympian Sarah Walker has edged world number four Caroline Buchanan (Australia) to claim the UCI Oceania Continental Championships title today.
It was a double victory for Walker who also collects important qualifying points for the Rio Olympics, following the victory near Pukekohe.
Fellow Kiwi Trent Jones also performed well collecting the men's title at the Oceania champs after a thrilling final.
Walker, an Olympic silver medallist, has been forced to deal with significant injury since early 2012, but arrived at the Oceania champs fitter, stronger and healthier than for some years.
She forced her way up to Buchanan on the final straight, during the final moto, before over taking the Australian to give her the overall Oceania title on countback.
With the women's title decided over three straight races, Walker finished third in the first race, after a wide lane draw, but absolutely nailed the second race to lead from the snap.
Buchanan and world number seven Lauren Reynolds (Australia) made the early running in the deciding moto, but Walker fought back on the second straight and showed her handling talents to haul in Buchanan on the final straight, with a photo-finish required to separate the pair.
"All the hard work we have been doing in training obviously paid off because I managed to just get past down the finishing straight," Walker said.
"The result today means I am back, I guess. This off-season training is the best I have ever had and I am tracking so well that it is so exciting to be starting to realise my potential. That is my goal this year, to see what I am actually capable of."
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