Great Britain fielded a youthful endurance squad at the second round of the UCI Track World Cup in Cambridge, New Zealand over the weekend, but exceeded expectations with a trio of medals.
Mark Stewart had an impressive weekend, winning the men’s scratch race on Saturday and then claiming bronze alongside team-mate Germain Burton in the madison on Sunday.
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The 20-year-old from Scotland was run close in the scratch race by Colombian Brayan Stiven Sanchez, who took a lap late on to lead going into the finale. However, he paid a price for his efforts and Stewart passed him to take the victory.
“It’s lovely, you go in, no pressure, you just think, right, I’m going to do what I love doing and just ride a bike and race it, I love it,” Stewart told British Cycling after his victory.
“When I crossed the line, I knew it would be me and the Colombian but when I passed him, I kept waiting for him to come back around me, but I was really pleased when I crossed the line.”
Chris Latham led the men’s omnium after Saturday’s opening three rounds, but could not hold off Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark on the final day.
Latham was pleased with his silver, particularly as he had filled the place originally allocated to Ed Clancy, who was a last-minute withdrawal due to back surgery.
“I’ve been knocking on the door waiting for that opwportunity and sadly Ed [Clancy] was going to do this [omnium] but he’s had a back injury so I’ve jumped in and took the opportunity,” said Latham.
“It’s massive, a real big performance. First World Cup (of the season) and to get a silver, well happy with that, I’m delighted.”
Having recovered from his scratch race effort, Stewart and Burton put in a strong performance in the madison to place third – a feat all the more remarkable given that Burton crashed during the race. Morgan Kneisky and Benjamin Thomas of France took the victory.
Welsh sprinter Becky James made her first appearance for Great Britain in two years, having suffered from a long-term knee injury.
The former world champion placed 18th in the women’s sprint, with fellow Brit Katy Marchant placing sixth. Kristina Vogel (Germany) took gold.
The full results from the Track World Cup in New Zealand are available via Tissot Timing. It’s the first time that New Zealand has hosted a round of the competition.