Palmerston North teenager Campbell Stewart became a double world champion after a courageous victory in the omnium at the UCI Juniors Track Cycling World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan today.
The 16 year old, who won the world title in the scratch race on the opening day, recovered from a crash in the final points race to claim his second rainbow jersey in the gruelling six-discipline omnium.
He joins Sarah Ulmer (1994 in Quito) and current team pursuit world champion Regan Gough (2014 in Korea) as double rainbow jersey winners at the junior world championships, one behind the three gold medals won by sprinter Sam Webster in Moscow in 2009.
It brings New Zealand’s tally to six medals, bettered only by the 10 medals won in Moscow in 2011 and at home in Invercargill in 2012 with significantly bigger teams that the eight-strong squad that ventured in Kazakhstan.
“It was an outstanding effort from Campbell throughout the competition,” said coach Ross Machejefski. “Today he produced in the timed events and to bounce back from a crash in the points race and win the crucial sprints was amazing. This young man has courage and talent and a big future in the sport.”
Stewart, in a share of the lead after the first day, started day two with wins in the 1000m time trial in 1:03.838 and the Flying Lap in 13.238. This gave him a six point lead going into the pivotal points race, where all points earned count to the final total.
The young Kiwi was content to ride for position early as a number or riders who were not in overall contention put laps on the field for bonus points. However he was brought down in a crash mid-race, and despite some abrasions, returned to the fray, winning three of the last five sprints to ensure he had sufficient buffer for the gold medal.
“I had a few good sprints before the race came together in the end and worked out in my favour,” Stewart said. “It’s inspired me to come back next year and do the same if not better.
“The team here is awesome. It’s such a small team but so much success over the whole team – the TP girls, the sprinters smashing it and everyone performing to the highest level and rising to the occasion.”
Auckland’s Bryony Botha lies in fourth position only four points from the leader after the first day of the women’s omnium competition.
Botha, part of the winning team pursuit earlier in the championship, was seventh in the scratch race, second in the 2000m individual pursuit in 2:27.863 and fourth in the exciting elimination race to complete the first day.
Poland’s Davia Pikulik leads on 104 points, with Danielle McKinnirey (AUS) and Kristina Selina (RUS) equal second on 102 and Botha fourth on 100.
In other action today Michaela Drummond (Palmerston North), part of the winning team pursuit, was sixth in the 7.5km scratch race while Taupo’s Lewis Eccles qualified for the sprint eliminations but was beaten in the first round by top qualifier Jiri Janosek (CZE).
Tomorrow’s final day will see Botha complete the omnium competition with the 500m time trial, flying lap and points race, while Olivia Podmore will compete in the keirin.
Day 4 results:
Men Omnium, day 2:
1000m time trial: Campbelll Stewart (NZL) 1:03.838, 1; Rohan Wight (AUS) 1:04.109, 2; Dawid Czubak (POL) 1:04/452, 3.
Flying Lap: Stewart 12.238, 1; Stefano Moro (ITA) 13.263, 2; Wight 13.278, 3.
Points Race: Luis Villalobos (MEX) 27 points, 1; Sasha Weemaes (BEL) 25, 2; Bayley Simpson (CAN) 24, 3. Also: Stewart 17, 11.
Final points: Stewart 191, 1; Wight 181, 2; Max Kanter (GER) 156, 3.
Women omnium, day 1:
Scratch race: Kristina Selina (RUS) 1, Davia Pikulik (POL) 2, Martina Alzini (ITA) 3. Also: Bryony Botha (NZL) 7.
2000m individual pursuit: Josie Knight (IRE) 2:27.556, 1; Botha 2:27.863, 2; Pikulik 2:28.062, 3.
Elimination: Selina 1, Maria Gaxiola (MEX) 2; Danielle McKinnirey (AUS) 3. Also: Botha 4.
Points after 3 rounds: Pikulik 104, 1; McKinnirey and Selina 102, equal 2; Botha 100, 4.
Women 7,5km scratch race: Elisa Balsamo (ITA) 1, Justyna Kaczkowska (POL) 2, Nicola MacDonald (AUS) 3. Also: Michaela Drummond (NZL) 6.
Men Sprint, first round: Jiri Janosek (CZE) bt Lewis Eccles (NZL).
CAPTION: Campbell Stewart is congratulated by coach Ross Machejefski after winning the omnium world title.