Matt Crampton recorded the biggest victory of his career this weekend at the European Track Championships in Apeldoorn by winning the men’s keirin event ahead of Christos Volikakis of Greece.
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With a chest infection putting Sir Chris Hoy on an early flight home from The Netherlands and Jason Kenny finishing fourth in the individual sprint, the responsibility fell on Crampton’s shoulders to bring home a medal for Great Britain’s male sprinters.
His victory in the men’s keirin was initially reported as having salvaged a gold amidst a disappointing overall showing for the sprint stars. Yet a commanding final ride, which saw Crampton lead the field from the front, has thrown the spotlight on a talented rider who is finally beginning to demonstrate the form and performances of which people have always expected he is capable.
“It’s been a few years really, for myself. I got going in the sprints and started winning some medals and World Cups, and then have not had anything for a year, two years,” explained Crampton.
His best performances to date have been two silver medals in the World Championships – one in the keirin in 2008, and in the team sprint in 2009. Crampton is now hoping that his first gold can help propel him forward into the upcoming season.
“It’s a big reward this [win]; I can set my sights on Melbourne [the World Championships] now in the keirin there, and hopefully repeat this success.
“If I can make the keirin my own now, that’s a great chance for London 2012 and that’s where all my dreams are.”
With Hoy out of action, Crampton admitted that he had been aware of making the most of the opportunity.
“You always get apprehensive in the first round – you don’t know how everyone is going and you want to get through nice and cleanly. I had about three or four hours wait, and a lot of time to think. I’ve grown up with it though so I’m used to it.”
The next stop for Crampton will be the brand new velodrome in Kazakhstan where he is likely to feature in the team sprint and keirin in a full-strength GB sprint squad that should include Hoy, Kenny, Edgar and Queally.
Crampton leads from the front
Photo gallery: Euro track champs day three
Photo gallery: Euro track champs day two
British sprinters miss out on medals on frustrating day in Apeldoorn
British sprinters miss out on medal ride in team sprint
Great Britain’s hattrick of gold on opening night
Euro track champs, day one gallery
Hoy pulls out of Euro track champs with chest infection
Around Apeldoorn velodrome