Whakatane mountain biker Karen Hanlen has continued her outstanding form in Europe with a second place in the BMC Racing Cup in Switzerland.
Hanlen finished behind Switzerland's Esther Suss in a sprint finish in the third round of the seven-round Swiss-based international cross country mountain bike series.
While the New Zealander is focusing on success in the UCI World Cup circuit in her campaign to secure selection to the London Olympics, the weekend performance was a real boost to her burgeoning international status.
Suss and Hanlen were in a select group riding together over the first half of the race before the pair worked their way clear.
While Suss outsprinted the Kiwi in the sprint finish, Hanlen beat home a number of world class riders including the Beijing gold medallist Sabine Spitz, of Germany, bronze medallist Irini Kalentieva, of Russia, and French world junior champion Julie Bresset.
"I'm so pleased, and a really nice confidence boost for next weekend - although I won't get complacent as it'll be all on,'' Hanlen said.
Suss won in 1:43.18 with Hanlen only two lengths back and more than 30 seconds clear of the next chaser with the rest of the field strung out behind.
Hanlen will compete in the third round of the UCI World Cup in the Czech Republic this weekend where she will again clash with Beijing Olympian Rosara Joseph, as the Kiwi pair push for London Olympic selection.
Compatriot Samara Sheppard, of Wellington, was 19th while Rotorua's Dirk Peters was 24th in the men's race won by Switzerland's Nini Schurter.
Results, BMC Racing Cup, round 3, Solothurn:
Elite women: Esther Suss (SUI) 1:43:18, 1; Karen Hanlen (NZL) 1:43:20, 2; Irena Kalentieva (RUS) 1:43:54, 3. Also: Samara Sheppard (NZL) 1:53:48, 19.
Elite Men: Nino Schurter (SUI) 1:37:1, 1; Moritz Milatz (GER) 1:37:16, 2; Christoph Sauser (SUI) 1:37:38, 3. Also: Dirk Peters (NZL) 1:44:47, 24.