Webster misses out on sprint medal

Kiwi sprint star Sam Webster failed to continue his giant-killing run at track cycling's world championships in Belarus.

The 21-year-old Auckland, who had eliminated Britain's Olympic champion Jason Kenny in the quarter-finals, was beaten by Germany's Stefan Botticher over three races in the semi-finals of the individual sprint.

Botticher went on to win gold, beating Russia's Denis Dmitriev for the title, while Webster missed out on bronze to France's Francois Pervis.

Botticher only qualified sixth and needed to come through the repechages after being beaten by Kenny. He knocked out Kiwi Simon van Velthooven in the quarter-finals.

Webster became the first New Zealand rider to qualify for the sprint finals at the world championships.

"This is the first world championships that I've turned up to with really good condition. After the Olympics, we made some big changes to training and the way we approach training which gave me the mental freshness," said Webster.

"I am really happy. I did make a couple of mistakes which is why I finished fourth but that experience will be invaluable. I am happy I beat the Olympic champ two straight and took the eventual winner to three rides."

Webster won the first race of his semi-final before Botticher got up to snatch the second race on the line before the Kiwi missed the jump in the decider to go into the ride-off for bronze.

The result means the Kiwi team leaves the championships with three medals; gold to omnium rider Aaron Gate, and silvers to kilo time triallist Van Velthooven and the team sprint of Webster, Eddie Dawkins and Ethan Mitchell.

BikeNZ high performance director Mark Elliott says the championships were a success for their strategy.

"The focus was taking a small team away who were all capable of winning medals and they have delivered on that, even exceeded that," he said.

"It proves our sprinters now deserve to be in the position to ride for medals."

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