Mountain biker added to Comm Games team

12:38, Jun 13 2014
Karen Hanlen

Olympic mountain biker Karen Hanlen is a late addition to the Commonwealth Games team after successful surgery to correct a potentially career-ending issue.

Hanlen's nomination was endorsed by the New Zealand Olympic Committee today and the Whakatane mother-of-two would join Queenstown's Kate Fluker in the women's line-up for the cross country race in Glasgow.

It marked a roller-coaster year for the London Olympian who contemplated retirement earlier this year after she was unable to overcome issues that would result in a slow opening lap in her races, accompanied by leg pain.

Hanlen reversed that decision after she was diagnosed with exercised-induced asthma in January, which she hoped would solve her frustrations, but the problem returned in the opening round of the UCI World Cup in South Africa in May.

BikeNZ and High Performance Sport medical staff believed the problem related to narrowing in the main artery in the leg, a medical issue that was not uncommon with cyclists because of their riding position.

The surgery last month was a success.

"Even with this issue, her results in New Zealand and the World Cup were sufficient to earn a nomination, which has been supported by the New Zealand Olympic Committee,'' BikeNZ high performance director Mark Elliott said.

Hanlen planned to head to Europe next month for a lead-up race ahead of the Commonwealth Games.