Tuesday 24 October 2017

Kenny: I fluffed it

Britain will be looking to Laura Trott and Jason Kenny for a gold medal this weekend at the Track World Championships
Britain will be looking to Laura Trott and Jason Kenny for a gold medal this weekend at the Track World Championships

Olympic champion Jason Kenny maintains he is still on course for the Rio de Janerio Games despite "looking like an idiot" in the men's sprint on day four of the Track World Championships.

Great Britain face the prospect of a first Track World Championships since 2001 without a gold medal after Kenny's first-round exit and Laura Trott's poor start to the six-discipline omnium competition at Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, near Paris.

The London 2012 gold medallist has one world title in the event, from 2011, but he exited at the first knockout round after qualifying in 10th place.

Kenny, who was beaten by Venezuela's Hersony Canelo, said: "We can turn it around in 18 months. It's not like we're 100 miles away. There's all the time in the world.

"There's quite a long way to go and obviously that is our ultimate goal - to get on it and turn around those margins and stick our nose back in front."

Kenny is the natural heir to 11-time world champion and six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy, but his form is worrying.

The Briton has more Olympic titles (three) than world crowns (two) and last prevailed at global level in the Keirin at the 2013 Track World Championships in Minsk.

Kenny was 10th in qualifying at the Velodrome National and Canelo 15th, but the Briton was unable to round the Venezuelan in the first round after appearing to hesitate.

"I just fluffed it up," Kenny said. "I just got caught napping. The margins are so fine.

"It's not concentration. Perhaps you could say a little bit of confidence.

"It's such a fine margin between looking like an idiot and looking like a hero."

Kenny was part of the team sprint squad which placed eighth on day one and was unable to claim a place in the Keirin semi-finals on day two.

The sprint loss brought his championships to a premature end.

Kenny attributed the defeat to fine margins, after 25 riders of the 34 starters beat the 10-second barrier in the flying 200metres qualification which determines rankings for the head-to-head sprints.

Two silvers - in the men's and women's team pursuits - are all the dominant nation on the track for the last decade have mustered so far.

The last time Britain failed to win a gold medal at the Track World Championships was 14 years ago in Antwerp, Belgium.

"I wasn't aware of that," Kenny added.

"It just shows that we're a very successful nation in cycling and with that comes a little bit of expectation.

"We're still there, we're just on the wrong side of the tenth (of a second)."

Kenny's exit piles further pressure on his fiancee Trott.

Trott was 13th in the 10-kilometres scratch race which began the omnium event, which concludes on Sunday's final day.

The 2012 world and Olympic champion, world silver medallist in the last two years, has work to do if she is to reclaim the rainbow jersey.

"She'd want to win whether we'd won every single event or whether we hadn't won a single thing," Kenny said.

"There is no pressure. In terms of the team getting a certain number of medals that's not for us to worry about. We just get up in every race and try to win as much as possible."

Kenny downplayed the expectations on himself, too.

The 26-year-old added: "I don't think there are any expectations on me. I've bombed out in plenty of races before London and I still turned up and won London.

"I want to win everything. We could be playing tiddlywinks and I'd still want to win.

"I'm just a very competitive person and I'm disappointed when I don't win."

Trott moved up to seventh after winning the second discipline of the omnium, the 3km individual pursuit.

The Briton has 56 points, with Australia's Annette Edmondson leading on 70 points.

One discipline remains on Saturday, the elimination race in which Trott usually excels.

Andy Tennant was fifth in the men's 4km individual pursuit, missing out on the chance of a medal.

Tennant clocked four minutes 20.733 seconds as Australia's Jack Bobridge advanced quickest in 4mins 16.219secs.

Jon Dibben was 15th and Ireland's Martyn Irvine 17th with one discipline in the omnium remaining.

Colombia's Fernando Gaviria was in the lead ahead of the final discipline, the points race.

Elinor Barker was 18th in the women's scratch race after trying to make a late escape for victory.

Barker accelerated away from the field four laps from the end, but was swiftly swallowed up to fall out of contention.

Kirsten Wild of Holland won ahead of Australia's Amy Cure.

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