Sarah Lee Wai-sze became the third cyclist from Hong Kong to clinch a world title after her victory in the women’s 500-metre time trial at the Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk, Belarus.
The 25-year-old was the fastest among 12 riders over the two lap-race, clocking 33.973 seconds to edge out favourite Miriam Welte from Germany, who had won gold the previous day in the team sprint, and Britain’s Rebecca James.
“I must admit, I was very nervous before the start but I knew I could win,” said Lee, who won a bronze medal in the keirin at last year’s Olympics in London. “I hope I will do even better next year because I know that many better riders have not come here.”
Wong Kam-po, now retired and a coach, was the first rider from Hong Kong to capture the “rainbow jersey” as the world champion when he won the scratch race in 2007, followed by Kwok Ho-ting in the same event at the 2011 World Track Championships in the Netherlands. Kwok came ninth in the scratch race against 23 riders in Minsk.
Welte, the last rider to start the race, was just two-hundredths of a second behind Lee with a time of 33.996 seconds, while James, at 21 the youngest among the three, clocked 34.133 seconds.
Lee’s winning time was still some way off the world record of 33.10 seconds set by Australia’s Anna Meares, who won the world title in Melbourne last year.