Two wins confirm Stewart's dominance

DOMINANT: Campbell Stewart.
DOMINANT: Campbell Stewart.

Palmerston North's Campbell Stewart has continued his dominance at the national age group track cycling championships this week.

As a first year under-17 rider last year, Stewart almost swept his events, taking gold in the individual pursuit, scratch, points and sprint, and helping his West Coast-North Island team to victory in the team pursuit and team sprint.

The only title which eluded him was the 500 metres time trial, where he finished second behind Lewis Eccles.

Already this week Stewart has banked the time trial gold he missed out on last year, and last night's 2000m individual pursuit.

"It's been pretty good, Southland always puts on a good week," Stewart said.

"I got a few medals last year and I wanted to keep that going this year [but] it's a long week and anything can happen."

Stewart's father is an ironman competitor and he followed sister Kate into cycling at a young age.

He hopes to make a New Zealand road team being selected for a trip to Australia this year and also has ambitions for the track.

"Short term I'd like to go to junior worlds and then on to the worlds and maybe the Olympics," he said.

A year 11 pupil at top cycling school Palmerston North Boys' High, Stewart has been inspired by the BikeNZ track team at the world championships in Colombia last week.

Olympic riders like Aaron Gate, Simon van Velthooven and Jesse Sergent are among his heroes.

"All week I was getting updates and then watching it when I got home from school. Seeing those sprint boys getting that gold just made it more realistic and made you feel like it can happen."

New Zealand under-19 coach Ross Machejefski said Stewart was showing the sort of speed which New Zealand teams pursuit riders Pieter Bulling and Dylan Kennett displayed as they went through the age groups a couple of years ago.

"At this stage he could be sprint or endurance, it could go either way but he's probably leaning towards endurance."

Stewart will be in line for selection in the New Zealand under-19 team for the Oceania championships in Adelaide in October, Machejefski said.

Manawatu Standard