Team Wales Commonwealth Games track cyclist Ethan Vernon warmed up for his medal assault at the UCI Junior World Championships next month by cracking a world record in qualifying.
The 17-year-old Bedford schoolboy stripped more than two seconds off the 3 kilometre Individual Pursuit Junior world record with a time of 3 min, 10.121 sec at the British junior championships in Newport on Monday evening.
Having beaten his nearest rivals by six seconds in qualification, Vernon then dipped under the old world record mark – 3:12.416 set by Swiss rider Stefan Bissegger at the junior World Championshis in 2016 – once again in the final as he crossed the line in 3:10.371 to beat Welsh colleague Zach Bridges to the gold medal.
There were more medals for Welsh riders on day one as Ella Barnwell won bronze in the junior women’s scratch race and Rhys Thomas was crowned Under 16 men’s sprint champion after a dominant day in the saddle.
There was a Welsh one-two in the Under 16 women’s sprint with Emma Finucane (Towy Riders) – unbeaten throughout on the opening day of the championships – beating Zoe Backstedt (Maindy Flyers Youth CC) in the final.
Vernon’s performance came shortly after he had been named in a 14 strong British team to head to Aigle, in Switzerland, for the world championships between 15-19 August.
It will be Vernon’s second trip to the world champs and he will have plenty of Welsh support.
Cwmbran’s Bridges will make his debut, while the 16-year-old Elynor Backstedt, from the Rhondda, and Ella Branwell, from Carmarthen, are included on the women’s side.