Kenny reigns as sprint king as Olympic champion hits form at UCI Track Cycling World Championships
Britain’s Jason Kenny came from behind in the men’s sprint final to secure gold at the International Cycling Union (UCI) Track World Championships here today.
The reigning Olympic champion has had to fend off doubters, having failed to medal at the last two World Championships, but the 27-year-old delivered a stunning answer to his critics with a series of strong displays.
He comfortably saw off the challenge of Poland’s Damian Zielinski in the semi-final stage of the competition, winning the contest in straight rides.
It set up the prospect of a thrilling gold medal clash with Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer, who brushed aside Russia’s Denis Dmitriev in their last four battle.
The first ride of the final lived up to crowd’s expectations as Glaetzer earned a victory by just 0.002 seconds, however Kenny struck back by keeping the inside line in the second effort.
Glaetzer opted to lead out the decider but was unable to stop Kenny from surging past in the home straight to claim the third world title of his career.
The Briton’s victory signalled a clear return to form, as he seeks to add to his three Olympic titles at Rio 2016.
Russia’s Dmitriev was able to complete the podium by beating Zielinski in both rides, in their bronze medal contest.
Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria successfully retained his men’s omnium title in the tightest possible fashion, with three podium finishers ending on the same number of points.
After ending the opening day tied for the lead with Italy’s Elia Viviani, on 102 points, he edged ahead of his rival after finishing second in the time trial discipline.
A victory for Viviani in the penultimate event, the flying lap, catapulted him to the top of the overall standings in what appeared to be a two-horse race for the gold medal.
However, Germany’s Roger Kluge forced himself into medal contention after taking two laps during the points race, each adding a further 20 points to his overall tally.
Inside the last 10 laps of the 40 kilometre event, Australia’s Glenn O’Shea achievement the same feat to move onto a total of 191 points, which saw him tied with Gaviria and Kluge.
The trio were unable to finish in top four riders on the last sprint to add to their points tallies, but as Gaviria crossed the line first of the medal contenders, he was awarded the gold.
Kluge was able to take bronze ahead of O’Shea, while Viviani ended narrowly outside the medals on 189 points.
A sixth place finish for Mark Cavendish could end his hopes of claiming the omnium spot in the British team at Rio 2016, particularly after his compatriot and rival for the berth Jon Dibben excelled in winning points race gold yesterday.
The women’s 25km points race proved to be an equally tight affair, with four riders separated by two points at its conclusion.
Poland’s Katarzyna Pawlowska and Britain’s Emily Nelson, making her World Championship debut, led the race at the halfway stage after accruing six points from the first five sprints.
The Pole was able to claim a further seven in the next two sprints to move clear at the top of the leaderboard on 13 points, however Canada’s Jasmin Glaesser and Cuba’s Arlenis Sierra closed the gap in the closing stages.
Pawlowska was fortunate that the United States’ Kimberly Geist claimed the last five points on offer to prevent the chasing pack from overhauling her, with Glaesser and Sierra claiming two and one point respectively to finish one point shy of the winner’s final tally of 15.
Having finished the highest of the pair in the final sprint Glaesser claimed silver ahead of Sierra, while Australia’s Georgia Baker ended a point outside the medals.
Double Olympic champion Laura Trott’s pursuit of the third medal at the Championships remains firmly on track, as the Briton is tied for the lead in the women’s omnium after the opening three events.
The newly crowned scratch race world champion followed up a third finish in the scratch race by claiming second places in both the individual pursuit and elimination race.
Sarah Hammer, who took Olympic silver behind Trott at London 2012, claimed wins in the final two events with the American moving into joint first place on 112 points.
- By Michael Pavitt at the Lee Valley Velopark in London
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz