Kiwi teenage talent Campbell Stewart gave a hint of his prodigious future with a close fifth placing in the omnium on the penultimate day of the world track cycling championships in the Netherlands yesterday.
The 19-year-old from Palmerston North, a double junior world omnium champion, was having his first venture into the gruelling four-event omnium that comprises a scratch race, tempo sprint race, elimination race and points race.
He moved to fifth going into the 25km points race where he won the final double points sprint to retain that placing in an impressive debut for one of the youngest in the field.
"It was a pretty unreal experience with all the top guys there," said Stewart. "I was hoping to get a lap somewhere but it didn't quite work out so I picked a couple of sprints where I was able to push it and take out the final one to get back to fifth overall."
He was 13th in the scratch race and third in the tempo. He survived some aggressive riding in the exciting elimination to finish eighth to push him to fifth place going into the all-important points race. He rode prominently but could not get into a telling break to get a lap and 20 crucial bonus points but picked up the win in the final double points sprint.
"At the start of the omnium, I had an open mind. I had the hope of getting on to the podium, which didn't quite work out, which I am not too fazed about right now as I slowly build each year, move up a few places in the next few years. I definitely feel I can push it with the big boys."
Earlier, Eddie Dawkins ran Britain's Jack Carlin extremely close in their quarter-final of the men's sprint at the Appeldorn velodrome. The big Kiwi was edged by just one-hundredth of a second in their first ride in the best of three, with a photo finish required to separate the pair. The British rider managed to hold off Dawkins in the second ride. Australian Matthew Gleatzer went on to beat Carlin in two straight rides to claim the gold medal.
Kirstie James had a strong performance to finish sixth in the women's individual pursuit, riding a near-personal best 3m 34.150s, only one second outside a place in the medal round, while Bryony Botha was 13th fastest in 3m 38.065s.
American Chloe Dygart broke her own world record in winning the final in 3m 20.060s.
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