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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

American Takes Sprint Gold in Upset

PALERMO, SICILY -- Martin Nothstein has made U.S. cycling history with a pair of quick victories.

The young American upset Michael Hubner of Germany and Australian Darryn Hill Wednesday to win the men's sprint title at the World Track Cycling Championships -- the first American man to capture a gold medal in sprints since Frank Kramer's victory at Newark in 1912.

Nothstein's triumph was surprising as it came less than three months after a left heel injury which put his cycling career at risk.

"My road to the world championships was rocky, following the injury. I came here with little expectations ... and I got the rainbow jersey. It's a great feeling," said the cyclist, 23, from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Nothstein, who placed fourth in sprints and second in the Keirin at the World Championships last year in Hamar, Norway, said he improved form and confidence race after race.

Competing in high humidity, and with temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius, the young American displayed an explosive power as he beat Hubner 2-1 in the semifinals and Hill 2-0 in the final.

Hubner, a two-time world champion who finished third in the event, briefly got the berth in the finals after the international jury penalized the American following a controversial third sprint in the best-of-three series.

Nothstein was later reinstated in first place as the jury agreed to an appeal by the U.S. team.

In the finals he disposed of the Australian rival, who was considered the heir of 1993 world champion Gary Neiwand. Neiwand was nursing a left knee injury and did not start in Palermo.

Nothstein said he was now looking forward to an outstanding performance in Saturday's Keirin final and in the Pan-American games.

In a previous final France's Marion Clignet won the women's pursuit title by beating Russian Svetlana Samokhvalova by 7.5 seconds.

Clignet won France the second gold medal out of four finals, completing the 3-kilometer distance in three minutes, 43.399 seconds, at an average speed of 48.344 kph.

Samokhvalova captured the silver medal in 3:40.898. Janie Eickhoff of the United States, who lost the semifinal to the Russian cyclist, finished third -- a repeat of her placing in last year's championships.

Defending champion Tanya Dubnicoff of Canada and 1993 silver medalist Ingrid Haringa of the Netherlands both were upset in the women's sprints quarterfinals. Dubnicoff surrendered in straight sprints to Russian Oksana Grishina. Haringa lost 1-2 to another Russian sprinter, Galina Enukhina.

The good day of the U.S. team was completed by qualification of the American quartet for the semifinals of the 4-kilometer team pursuit.

After four track finals France leads the medals list with two golds and one silver. The United States has one gold, one silver and one bronze.