In 2019 a 20-year-old New Zealander stunned the track cycling world to claim the Omnium World Championship title.
Campbell Stewart had been touted as a rising star after winning two silver medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. His World Championship win catapulted him into the top echelons of the cycling elite.
Almost a year on from the historic win, Stewart is preparing for Tokyo 2020, but first he’ll be defending his title at the Berlin World Champs, beginning on February 26th.
“It’s the first time in a while we’ll have all the Olympic contenders in one place racing against each other so it’ll be a good test,” said Stewart.
“From there I’ll be able to see if I’m in a good place or if I need to work even harder to get to the top.”
Now aged 21, the former Palmerston North Boys’ High student is expecting a different reception at this years World Champs.
“It’s a completely different ball game this time. Last year I went in knowing I could get a result, I didn’t think I’d get the result I did but it all just came together.
“This year everyone’s going to know who I am and what I can do and I’ll be the one they’re all chasing. I’ll be trying to use that against them in different ways so it should be fun.”
The World Champs are being held just five months out from track cycling’s pinnacle event, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Stewart says that’s not going to stop him giving it everything as he tries to cement his place on the top of the podium ahead of Tokyo.
“Even though it’s an Olympic year I won’t be holding back so it’s just racing and getting experience now.
“Everyone at World Champs is amazing and it’ll be the same at the Olympics so I’m just gonna go out and race and try to win another world title.”
After the World Champs Stewart and his teammates will travel to Europe where they’ll continue training so they’re ready to hit Tokyo “at full gas”.
It’ll be the first Olympic Games for Stewart who was just 17 when his now teammates competed at the last Olympic Games in Rio.
Stewart says while he’s nervous he’ll be trusting in his training as he works towards a podium finish.
“I’ll focus on my processes and will do a lot of riding and a lot of training leading into Tokyo. It’s going to be a step up and a learning curve but hopefully I can embrace it and bring home some silverware.
“I can’t wait, the crowds and the stadium will be amazing, it’s going to be pretty special.”
Tokyo 2020 Gold Coast 2018 Olympic Summer Games Commonwealth Games Campbell Stewart Cycling - Track