That Mark Stewart is feeling confident going into next week’s European Track Cycling Championships should come as no surprise as his is in the form of his life.

This year has seen the 22-year-old make his world championship debut on both the track and the road and he returned home from the European Under-23 Championships this summer with gold medals in both the omnium and the individual pursuit.

The Dundonian has long shown potential, but 2017 has proved to be a breakthrough.

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“It’s been a really, really good year,” he said. “It’s been a very consistent year, which is what’s been so pleasing. This is the most consistent I’ve been and right from the start of the year, I feel like I’ve been going from strength to strength so it’s been awesome.”

As an endurance rider, Stewart switches from riding on the track to the road and back again and having gained selection for the Road World Championships, which took place last month in Norway, Stewart didn’t have much time to get his eye back in on the track ahead of the European Championships, which begin in Berlin on Wednesday. However, the Scot says transitioning between the two is not a problem; in fact combining the two disciplines helps him to become a better rider.

“I had some time off after the road worlds and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel after that break but mentally, I’m feeling refreshed and so I’m really excited about the Europeans,” he said. “I find switching back to the track from the road is always OK because you’re so fit from all the road stuff that it’s actually quite refreshing to get back on to the track. The sheer volume of work on the road is so hard that getting back on the track is actually a bit of a relief. I think being part of the higher level road races has been really good for me and that has meant that when I’ve come back to the track, I’ve been a level above because I’ve stepped up a level on the road.”

The experience Stewart has gained over the past year has brought about a significant change in his mental state and he has reached a point where he goes into major championships relatively relaxed and stress free, which he believes is how he needs to feel in order to produce his best performances.

“I don’t think I appreciated it at the time the levels of tension and stress that you feel when you’re doing a first track worlds but looking back, it’s been massive for me to go through that and get it under my belt,” he says. “I need to be as relaxed as possible - that’s when I’m at my best. I know that I work hard and so if I have a good day then great but if not, it’s just a bike race. It’s not always easy to think like that because you can get engulfed in the whole situation but hopefully my experiences this year have helped me have that approach more often.”

Having won a bronze medal in the team pursuit at last year’s European Track Championships, Stewart and his team-mates go into next week’s event with pressure upon their shoulders. The priority is to peak for the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games next spring, but Stewart admits that adding more silverware to his collection in the next week has crossed his mind.

“This is the start of the new season and you have to look at the season as a whole,” said the Scot, who will be joined by Katie Archibald, Jack Carlin, and Callum Skinner in Berlin. “We’re trying to peak for February, March, April-time but at the same time, you like winning and so we still want to go into the Europeans to win.

“We’ve had some really good sessions in training where I’ve thought that if that comes together on race day, we’re definitely in with a shout so we just need to hope it all comes together on the day.”