Glenmore Park cyclist Stephen Cuff has clinched silver in the men's omnium following an incredible performance on the penultimate day of the 2017 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Montichiari, Italy.
Cuff overcame a painful 65km/h crash during the qualifier and finished the omnium scratch with only one pedal during his eventful bid for the podium finish.
“The first race I had to do was the qualifier, and I crashed,” he said. “I came down and someone went up, and I went straight down.
“My hip was hurting quite a bit as well as my hand. I had to see if the bike was OK … but other than that I just had to jump straight back on because I had to get through.”
Twelve competitors went on to the omnium scratch, with Cuff saying he started the race “feeling good’.
“I had all the adrenalin pumping through from when I had crashed,” he said. “We got the bell for the last lap and I was leading. One of the Italians hit my shoe and there was a big crash. I didn’t come down but my foot got unclipped and I finished half the lap with one leg, so everyone caught up and I came fifth.”
Cuff overcame tiredness in the tempo race to finish in fifth place, but had to mentally rally for the next event.
“We had a two hour break and then I started to get really sore in my hip, but I said to myself keep going … you didn’t fly out to get eliminated,” he said.
“I had a look at the points and I was sitting in eighth, and I knew I had to take a lap [in the final race] to stay competitive.
“I went away with three other riders and none of them were willing to do much in the front, so I knew I had to do it myself to get back in contention. I won the last, which is double points, and got second overall.”
Despite the elation of a silver medal, Cuff said he was exhausted.
“I was just glad it was all over. I was so fatigued I nearly passed out,” he said. “[It showed me] no matter how far down you are, if you give up that’s the end of you. It taught me to never give up.”
The Penrith Cycling Club member said he would be back on the bike this week after arriving home on August 29 and having a short break.