Tokyo 2020 Olympics: the hidden heroes of Campbell Stewart’s superb return to the omnium

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NZ Herald Focus Sport’s Cheree Kinnear wraps up the news for Day 15 as Lydia Ko and Ellese Andrews compete and Lisa Carrington aims for a final medal. Video / NZ Herald / Sky Sport

The next time Campbell Stewart sees Niklas Larsen and Albert Torres, he will likely owe them a drink.

Kiwi cyclist Stewart was the star of the track last night at the Olympics, winning a stunning silver medal just 12 hours after being called up late to the omnium to replace Aaron Gate, who had broken his collarbone in a accident with the team chase the day before.

The 23-year-old also left his run for a late medal, blowing the favorites in the final points race to complete two laps of the peloton, jumping from seventh after three races to finish second after fourth. and last test.

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Even ignoring the fact that he wasn’t originally supposed to run, it took a remarkable turn of events for Stewart to claim his medal, with the Kiwi looking set to finish out of the medal until the final laps.

While Stewart had run through the peloton once before, he entered the final 10 laps of the 100-lap points race needing to start over to get on the podium, so he set off on what seemed like a doomed mission. ‘failure to take the 20 extra points on offer for the turn of the field and jump into the medal positions.

Campbell Stewart of New Zealand in action.  Photo / Photosport
Campbell Stewart of New Zealand in action. Photo / Photosport

If he had been alone it would have been an impossible task, but instead, Larsen and Torres accompanied him in an attempt to team up to take the turn.

Why they did it is a curious question though, as the two runners had no reason to help. Larsen was 10th by the time of his last effort, but was at least close enough to the medals to mistakenly believe he had a chance, while Torres was far in 15th and knew he wouldn’t be on the podium.

Campbell Stewart (silver) with Matthew Walls of Team Britain (gold) and Elia Viviani of Team Italy (bronze).  Photo / AP
Campbell Stewart (silver) with Matthew Walls of Team Britain (gold) and Elia Viviani of Team Italy (bronze). Photo / AP

Yet as Stewart desperately sought support, the duo offered it to him, taking turns in front of the three-man group and pulling away, providing extra power in the push to win a lap, and giving Stewart a little more than necessary. wake to draft and preserve the energy he had left – energy he used to resume the chase in the final two turns and make the crucial capture.

Maybe Torres just wanted to cause tactical chaos on the track – after all, he rides for Movistar on the road, a team notorious for his rather, shall we say. … Unique… tactics – but most likely it was just the competitive spirit shown by the two riders, wanting to fight until the very end of their flagship event.

Whatever the reason, it benefited Stewart, who caught up with the field with one lap left to take the extra 20 points and pull off a sensational enough comeback to win the silver medal – a medal that perhaps wouldn’t. not be his without the help of some rivals.


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