LEWIS Stewart is turning his hand to senior racing pretty efficiently. The 18-year-old is still a baby in terms of track sprinting but he is already mixing it with the big boys in impressive style.

At the weekend’s Revolution Champions League at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome in Glasgow, the teenager claimed a second-place finish in the keirin, as well as third place in the men’s sprint and fourth in the handicap sprint.

Stewart, from Glasgow, was understandably thrilled to be back in his home city having spent the past two months in Manchester. His foray down south is as a result of having been invited to join British Cycling’s senior academy and he admits that even after just two months away, he was delighted to be back. Although if he had been slightly better prepared in terms of kit, he may have received an even warmer welcome from the Glasgow crowd.

“It was so nice to be home,” he said. “The Glasgow track is my favourite track so it was great to be back because I’ve really missed Scotland. It’s always great to race in front of a home crowd – I wanted to race in Scotland kit but I didn’t have any so had to wear GB kit which was such a pity because whenever the home crowd see any of the riders in Scotland gear, they cheer like mad.

“But it was still really nice to race in front of a Scottish crowd.”

Stewart’s stint in Manchester has, he admits, been something of a shock to the system. Just a few months ago, he was a school pupil who combined his studies with training and competition whereas nowadays, he is part of one of the most successful training programmes on the planet in terms of producing world and Olympic medallists.

“It was great to get on to the senior programme but it’s definitely a big change,” he said. “I struggled a bit with the workload at the start because it’s just so tough but it’s been really good. Normally, at the end of the week, we do a session that just kills you – you’ve got absolutely nothing left and that’s really, really hard. But I’m really enjoying it and it’s nice being able to concentrate solely on cycling.”

At the Manchester velodrome, Stewart is surrounded by superstars although time has dampened his excitement at giants of the sport wandering past him on a daily basis. However, one of the real perks is that he occasionally gets to test himself against Olympic champions. “The other week, Jason Kenny joined in – he did his first keirin since the Rio Olympics with us,” Stewart said.

“I definitely wanted to beat him – I was really going for it but I just couldn’t get him. He led me out and I sat on his wheel the whole time just waiting but it still wasn’t enough to beat him, he’s got too much talent.

“But it’s great doing sessions with someone like him – and I watch those guys and try to emulate some of the stuff they do to try and make myself better.

With Stewart still in the early stages of his senior career, his immediate targets are performance-based and while thighs the size of Sir Chris Hoy’s are practically impossible to match, the teenager is aware that physically, he still has quite a way to go before he can contemplate challenging for medals on the global stage.

“There’ll be a lot of gym work – right now, my PB for squat is 145kgs whereas the older guys are doing 200kgs,” he said. “ I’m stepping up from junior to senior and I’m nowhere near the required level but I’m looking forward to working on that because I know if I get stronger in the gym, I’ll be faster on the track.”