Kenny back on top
Six-time Olympic champion returns to his best as Tokyo beckons
Following his break from the sport last year Jason Kenny seems to be getting back to something near his best, winning the keirin at last weekend’s World Cup track meeting in Milton, Canada.
Not to be outdone, his wife Laura Kenny claimed two golds — one in the team pursuit alongside Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Eleanor Dickinson, and a second gold in the omnium.
Kenny had quietly decided he would make Rio 2016, where he won golds in the team sprint, sprint and keirin, his final Olympic Games. But after becoming a father in 2017 and having most of the year away from competition, he equally quietly slipped back into it, returning to the boards at the Revolution Series in January. He’s had a low profile year, but his performance at Milton suggests that Kenny’s form is starting to come good.
“I’m sure it will be a huge confidence boost to him, to come back to winning ways,” said British Cycling head coach Iain Dyer. “It’s his first really significant outing at this level since Rio. He also did a very good man-three team sprint, so all told it’s a really good start.”
He admitted hoping Kenny would choose to come back, but qualified: “We’re always cautious that the rider’s got to want to do it. It’s such a massive commitment and nothing less than 100 per cent is going to get you to your end goal.
“Taking the time was a wise thing to do, to see if the fire’s still burning brightly, and clearly it is,” he added.
The Kennys didn’t have all the British success to themselves though. Notably the Huub-wattbike Test Team improved on their bronze from last week’s World Cup in France to take silver behind Denmark in the team pursuit with Dan Bigham, Jonny Wale, Harry Tanfield and John Archibald. That performance saw them better Great Britain, who beat France into fourth place with Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Kian Emadi and Ollie Wood.
GB’S Mark Stewart and Ollie Wood impressed with a silver each in the omnium and scratch race respectively, before teaming up for the Madison and adding another silver to the team’s haul.
Success for GB is now very much part of the Olympic strategy for Tokyo, Dyer said: “It’s exactly what we’ve been looking at doing all along. If we score well in these events and load up our points that’s going to stand us in very good stead.”
The next World Cup is in Berlin (Nov 30-Dec 2), before the track series comes to London two weeks later.
Kenny won the Keirin in Milton, Canada