World champion cyclist Alison Shanks has withdrawn from the track nationals in Invercargill this week, meaning she won't defend her rainbow jersey at this year's UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Belarus next month.
Shanks has carried a hip injury for the past 12 months but pushed through considerable pain during training and racing in the lead up to Olympics.
However it was always envisaged that Shanks would need to take some time away from the sport to get the injury assessed and treated before looking ahead to the new track season in October and on to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.
In announcing the decision Shanks said that while the timing wasn't ideal to be missing a world championships, and it was disappointing not to be able to head to Belarus to defend her title, given the workload of 2012 it was time to get on top of the injury.
"It is frustrating when injuries occur and clearly there is disappointment in not be able to defend my World Pursuit Title, but at the same time I couldn't attempt to defend my world title if I'm not training with 100 per cent effort,'' Shanks said.
"That's not me - it's either all or nothing. 2012 was such a huge year - a world title in Melbourne and the Olympics in the team pursuit, so right now the timing is good to take a short break, get this injury fixed properly and then get back on the bike physically fresh and ready for next season where I will be able to give 100 per cent again.''
Shanks said that BikeNZ's decision to not send the women's pursuit team to Belarus made the decision a little easier.
Shanks will now have the injury fully assessed and her medical team will then decide the best course of treatment with surgery a possibility. However, she is expected to be back in full training by June.