Sexton and Stewart claim track gold in Hong Kong
Southland’s Tom Sexton and fellow twenty-year-old rider Campbell Stewart produced a performance that belied their years to snatch an exciting victory in the Madison on the final day of the Tissot UCI Track World Cup in Hong Kong.
The Vantage Elite New Zealand pair produced a withering final sprint to claim the double points to overtake Australia and claim the gold medal.
Stewart partnered with Aaron Gate to win the Madison in equally outstanding fashion at the World Cup in Cambridge last week, with Sexton coming in to the team to pair up with his Vantage Elite teammate in Hong Kong while Gate won the New Zealand Cycle Classic around the roads of Waipa this week.
Stewart and Sexton, former silver medallists at the junior world championships, scored points on eight of the 12 sprints in the gruelling 30kms event, in which points are scored every 10 laps in the two-rider event.
Australia pushed to the lead in the competition as the only team to lap the field to gain the 20 bonus points. But the Kiwis rallied with some typically aggressive riding and outstanding teamwork to score points in the last four sprints including the double points final dash which earned victory.
They finished with 33 points, four ahead of Australia, with France third.
Racquel Sheath finished 12th overall in the four-event omnium, won by multi-world champion Kirsten Wild (Netherlands). Sheath placed 13th in the scratch race, 16th in the tempo race, ninth in the elimination and a strong fourth placing in the final points race.
Earlier Zac Williams (10.166s) and Southland’s Bradly Knipe (10.194s) qualified 24th and 25th respectively in the men’s sprint, with both beaten in the first round of match racing.
Meanwhile Olivia Podmore won her repechage to move into the semifinals of the women’s keirin where she was narrowly edged out of the last spot for the final. She went on to finish eighth, with Hong Kong star Lee Wai-sze adding the keirin title to her sprint win.
Jesse Hodges was 15th in a strong women’s scratch race won by junior world champion Martina Fidanza (Italy).
The team return home with Cycling New Zealand to finalise the team next week for the upcoming world championships in Poland.