Cycling: Southland teenager Corbin Strong wins gold in points race at world champs

Southland teenager Corbin Strong has created history, winning gold in the points race at the track cycling world championships in Berlin on Saturday (NZ time).

On day three, Strong, 19, won New Zealand's first-ever gold in the discipline, with a strong 40km ride event.

He put himself in contention by taking 20 points for gaining a lap on the field early in the race, and soon after that took a lead he would never relinquish.

Strong sealed victory in style, gaining a lap on the field for the second time, with just one lap remaining.

Strong finished with 58 points, 18 clear of Spain's Sebastian Mora Vedri and Dutchman Roy Eefting. 

"I was put under pressure a few times, but fortunately, it all came back together and in the last 20 laps, I thought it was now or never," said Strong.

"How many opportunities do I get to race for a world title and I am in the perfect position? I just had to give it my everything and that’s what I did.

"I was overwhelmed with emotion when I crossed the line."

New Zealand has achieved its only other podium finish in the points race in 2014, when Tom Scully won silver. 

Strong now has two medals at the world champs, after winning silver with the men's team pursuit on day two. 

"Yesterday was a big day, with the team pursuit. We had high hopes for that, but on the day, we were beaten by an unbelievable time. 

"We didn't come here to get silvers, so I was really focussed on having a good run in the points race and see what I could do."


 Corbin Strong with his gold medal.
Corbin Strong with his gold medal. Photo credit: Photosport

In other racing, Nick Kergozou qualified for the finals of the 1000m time trial, finishing seventh, while Holly Edmondston finished 16th in the four-discipline omnium.

Tomorrow's penultimate day sees Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster in the individual sprint, Campbell Stewart in the omnium, and Kirstie James, Bryony Botha and Jaime Nielsen in the individual pursuit.