Alison Shanks turned to cycling in 2005 after a representative career for Otago in basketball and netball. Shanks was an impressive fourth in the individual pursuit at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and ninth at the worlds. She improved to eighth at the worlds in 2007 and was seventh this year. She had two sixth placings in the UCI World Cup. She has also won the NZ and Oceania individual pursuit titles and has reduced her time by nearly five seconds in 2008.