Champion sprinters Sam Webster and Stephanie McKenzie added the prized keirin titles in brilliant performances on the penultimate night of finals at the Track Cycling National Championships in Cambridge tonight.
Webster, 22, held off class field including all three members of the world champion team sprint and Olympic bronze medallist Simon van Velthooven at the Avantidrome.
Fellow Aucklander Ethan Mitchell grabbed the wheel of the derney with rounding him up with two laps remaining. The big guns pushed hard but Webster held them off in a thrilling finish from Mitchell with Matt Archibald third just ahead of fellow Southland youngster Jeremy Presbury.
“This means a lot because I’ve come second and third and so it’s pretty awesome to take the win in a field of that quality,” a spent Webster said.
“The final at nationals is always a close fought battle and I had to go really deep to get that one. It was a really hard race and I am happy to come out on top.”
Twenty year old McKenzie has put her hand up for nomination to the Commonwealth Games with her third title of the week follow victory in the 250m time trial and the sprint.
Her performance in controlling the women’s keirin final showed a maturity beyond her years, something the Southlander is proud of.
“I have been working hard on becoming more aware of the riders around and behind me,” Mckenzie said.
“I knew they would be coming at me but I waited and picked my time. I felt under control throughout that race. I didn’t even make the final of the keirin last year so this title is perhaps the most rewarding of the three this week.
“Wow three titles is pretty overwhelming. Hopefully I have put my hand up now and that can get me to Glasgow.”
McKenzie was on second wheel but was rounded up with a lap to go by Natasha Hansen but the sprint and 250m time trial winner moved to a higher gear to push to the front with the 500m time trial winner Katie Schofield (Otago) flying home for second ahead of Hansen.