Jason Kenny became Britain’s first double gold medallist of the London 2012 Olympic Games by beating the brilliant Gregory Bauge in the sprint final on Monday.
Frenchman Bauge has been unbeatable in World Championships since 2009 but Kenny disposed of him in two straight races to take the British cycling team’s fifth gold in the velodrome, and leaving Bauge perplexed.
The Frenchman, who has won every sprint world title since 2009 (although he was stripped of the 2011 title for irregularities in his whereabouts information) looked like he was struggling to understand Kenny’s performance and so started asking the questions in the post-race press conference.
“What do you do differently before the Olympics? How do you prepare?” he asked. Then he went on to ask if Kenny would simply relax for the next four years before coming back and winning in Rio.
The questions seemed borne out of the frustration of being beaten in two straight races by Kenny, who had never beaten the Frenchman in a World Championship.
Bauge has had to settle for two silvers as Kenny has won two golds.
The British team has now won a medal in six of the seven events they have competed in, only missing out in the women’s team sprint, and only then because they were relegated after an irregular change.
Kenny was selected for the sprint ahead of Sir Chris Hoy in June as the British selectors left it until as late as possible to make the call. “It’s not something I thought about until I went up for the last ride. It then dawned on me if Chris was there there’s no way he’d lose. It was a case of then getting up and doing it.”
The 24-year-old beat Bauge in the first race by getting past him in the final metres of the home straight. In the second race Kenny was in lower position on the start line and had to lead from the front. He eyeballed Bauge from the start and never took his eyes off him.
There were almost no tactics from either of them as the speed slowly ramped up. It was perfect for Kenny who posted a faster qualifying time than Bauge meaning his top speed was marginally higher.
Bauge needed to jump the 24 year old Brit, but never had the chance, and Kenny held him off. “I really enjoy what I do.” Kenny said. “I don’t do it or fame or money, which is just as well as I don’t have any. I enjoy the lifestyle, and how it is hope to continue with that.”
Like the men, the women’s sprint competition looks to be going to form. If it does it will set up a Pendleton, Meares final. They have to get past Kristina Vogel and Shuang Guo respectively, but both have looked a level above in their rounds today.
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Track day four evening session by Graham Watson
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Track day three evening session by Phil O’Connor
Track day three morning session by Andy Jones
Track day two by Phil O’Connor
Track day two by Graham Watson
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