New Zealand cyclist Sam Webster has confirmed his status as the best junior sprinter in the world after claiming his third gold medal at the UCI Junior World Cycling Championships in Moscow on Saturday. The Auckland rider took out the individual sprint title to add to his gold medal performances in the team sprint and keirin.
Webster produced a remarkable display, unbeaten in four rounds in the sprint competition to cap off an outstanding championship. He became New Zealand's most successful junior at a world championship, eclipsing the two gold medals by Sarah Ulmer in the individual pursuit and points race at Quito, Ecuador in 1994.
The Auckland teenager has won three of only seven gold medals ever won by New Zealand at the junior world track championships following Alan Miller in the kilo time trial at Wanganui in 1983, Ulmer's double in 1994 and the team pursuit in 2005 in Austria.
"His performances here have been quite outstanding. He has clearly been the best sprinter here in Moscow," said manager Mike McRedmond. "His dominance is similar to that by Chris Hoy at Beijing last year.
"It's Sam’s final year in the junior level and now he has cemented himself on the world stage, he is looking forward with real confidence to stepping up to the elite level at the end of the year."
Webster carried on where he left off in search of a sprint medal, winning his semifinal clash in two straight rides over Colombia's Christian Tamayo Saavedra, who had eliminated Webster's teammate Ethan Mitchell yesterday.
Germany's Stefan Botticher edged out local favourite Sergey Litvinenko 2-1 in the other semifinal.
The big New Zealander saved his best until last with two devastating efforts to claim the final again in two straight in the best of three-ride final to complete the sprint treble to go with the keirin gold and the team sprint gold with Mitchell and Cameron Karwowski