Brad Huff (Fair Grove, Mo./Slipstream-Chipotle) won a bronze medal in the inaugural omnium event at the 2007 UCI Track World Championships on Thursday to become the first American male to medal at an elite track world championships in 11 years.
After ending the morning session ranked third after three events, Huff temporarily dropped to eighth place overall after the points race, but rebounded with a strong performance in the kilometre time trial to secure the first medal for the U.S. team as the only American in action on the opening day of competition. Huff's medal was the first for an American male since Marty Nothstein won the world title in the keirin in 1996. It was also the first men's endurance medal won by the United States since 1994 when the team pursuit squad won silver.
Huff finished the five-event competition with 37 points, tied with Aliaksandr Lisouski of Belarus, but won the tiebreaker with a lower cumulative time in the three timed events.
"I can't really believe I got third because I had such bad legs all day, but I'm excited that I was able to get third somehow," explained Huff. "It just shows that as much as you suffer in cycling and you have good days and bad days, you just have to get on your bike and pedal, and even if you get dropped you can get something out of it."
The Czech Republic's Alois Kankovsky won the event with 19 points and Walter Fernando Perez of Argentina finished second with 28 points.
Huff ended the morning session ranked third after competing in the 200-meter time trial, the five-kilometre scratch race and the three-kilometre individual pursuit, but his medal chances took a turn for the worse after the first event in the evening session - the 15-kilometer points race. In the points race, Huff failed to score any points and placed 12th in the event, dropping him to eighth place in the overall standings with just one event remaining.
"In the points race, I would set myself up and get in position for the sprints, but then I'd just drift through the pack. When there was a sprint or a move that went away, I just didn't have that deep sprint or that deep push of power. It was very frustrating to have such bad legs today, but I'm excited I was able to get third somehow."
In the kilometre time trial, Huff clocked a time of 1:06.319 to place fourth. At the end of the competition, Huff totaled 37 points, the same as Lisouski, but his total cumulative time from the kilometre time trial, the pursuit and the 200-meter time trial added up to 4:42.788 compared to Lisouski's 4:42.964. The quarter-second time difference was enough to give Huff the bronze medal.
"I just knew I had to go as hard as I could in the kilo. I knew I couldn't spin the gear because I was so far down, so I just put a bigger gear on and just manned up and tried to go for it," Huff concluded.