Track Cycling World Cup: Laura Trott triumphant, but hard work lies ahead for Jason Kenny


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The Independent Online

A decidedly mixed day in the Trott-Kenny household. For Laura Trott, a second gold of the Manchester World Cup, a victory rapturously acclaimed in the omnium and one that underlined her standing as the darling of the sport. For Jason Kenny it was an altogether quieter exit, the Olympic champion enduring a disastrous morning qualifying session in which he was bundled out of the sprint.

“A bitter pill,” was the diagnosis of Dave Brailsford, Britain’s performance director, for Kenny but it was all much sweeter for Trott. The 21-year-old won the penultimate event, the scratch, and then sealed gold from an overnight position of sixth with victory in the 500 metres time trial.

“To win here is massive in front of a home crowd and it means I’ve qualified for the worlds now,” Trott said.

There was no such fillip for Kenny, who finished in 24th place. It was not a good weekend for Britain’s leading man, a three-time Olympic and two-time world champion. He came fourth in the keirin, an event at which he is the defending world champion, and returns to the home he shares with Trott with only a bronze from Friday’s team sprint to add to the couple’s collection.

Kenny had ridden in the final of the keirin late on Saturday night and was back on track first thing yesterday. It showed. It was a quick field, with the first nine men breaking 10 seconds, and it left Kenny well adrift.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Brailsford said. “It will be a bitter pill for him to swallow but it will wake him up, and they are the important things at this stage of the Olympic cycle.”

It means Kenny will have to be careful to make no mistakes when he rides at the next World Cup in Mexico – and may have to change plans and go to the final one as well, probably in South Africa – to ensure he has enough points to qualify for the World Championships in Colombia in February.

“You have to earn your place on merit,” Brailsford said. “You don’t get a free ride. Sport is a cruel thing, it’s hard, and it will catch you out if you don’t do the hard work, as we have seen today. Reputations don’t matter. It is kind of a reminder of all the absolute graft that has to go into getting what you need and that you have to earn your place. He has to get his head down and graft.”

Becky James took silver in the keirin behind Kristina Vogel. It completed a remarkable weekend for the German policewoman, who takes home three gold medals and has become the main threat to James retaining her world titles in Cali next year. With Robert Förstemann winning the sprint, Germany overtook Britain to top the medal table.