TOUCHING down on the runway at Devonport Airport had track cycling world champion Macey Stewart’s thoughts swiftly shifting to the tarmac.
Just days after securing her maiden junior world titles on the track, the 18-year-old flew home and was immediately looking forward to her first shot at a road world championship.
‘‘I’m absolutely ecstatic,’’ Stewart said as she was met by family, friends and a large media pack on her return from South Korea.
‘‘I look at my jerseys and medals and it hasn’t really sunk in that they’re mine and I’m a world champion.
‘‘I’m extremely overwhelmed. I was expecting mum and dad and maybe my boyfriend but to see all my family and friends and the cameras is so overwhelming and I’m just so excited to be home.’’
Stewart joined Launceston’s Lauren Perry and teammates Alex Manly, Dani McKinnirey and Josie Talbot to win the team pursuit before doubling up with a thrilling last-lap victory in the six-event omnium.
‘‘It was a bit more of a shock because I knew the team was capable of doing it from the qualifying round.
‘‘The omnium is such a mentally draining event as well as physically draining event and after the six events to come across that line and realise I had won it was just so emotionally overwhelming and I just broke down for a good 10 minutes.
‘‘You get so much satisfaction from a team event and get to share it with other people, but an individual medal, you know that you’ve done it through your own hard work and earned it yourself.
‘‘I’ve had a lot of bad luck in the last couple of years. My world championships last year did not go so well and I really wanted to come back this year and give it my best shot and show the world what I’m really made of and I think I did that pretty well.
‘‘Luck comes and goes and I got a lot of luck in that omnium and ended up on the top step. It was just my day.’’
Stewart has just a week at home before leaving for the junior road worlds in Spain, which she earned selection for by winning the national road race title in July.
Beyond that, she is excited about the prospect of following clubmate Amy Cure’s successful transition into the senior ranks.
‘‘I need to try and get some road ks into my legs,’’ she said.
‘‘I head off to road worlds next week and will be in Europe for six weeks. It will be a bit hectic and I think I’ll learn a lot from that but when I get back and have a bit of a rest I’ll be ready to step up and give it to them senior girls.
‘‘The messages Amy has been sending me have really brought me to tears so I’m really excited to be working with her in the future and can’t wait to be teammates down the track.’’