Cycling Weekly is counting down the top 30 British Riders of the Year thoughout December. The top 10 will be revealed in the December 19 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.
NUMBER 24: JASON KENNY
Keirin world champion
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The season after Olympic year is hardest of all on the track sprinters. Many of the endurance riders can switch their focus to the road but for the sprinters, the next Games can seem an awfully long way away, particularly for a big-game performer like Jason Kenny.
During the 2013 campaign the rider from Bolton won his first bona fide world title when he took the rainbow jersey in the Keirin in Minsk, Belarus.
Kenny was already a world champion, of course, but his previous title was awarded to him after Gregory Bauge, the winner of the 2011 sprint competition, was stripped of his results after missing a number of out of competition drug tests. Kenny had been denied the glorious moment of victory and a visit to the top step of the podium. Instead, he was awarded the jersey in a bizarre ceremony in a room beneath the track at the London velodrome.
This time, he won the title on the night and got to enjoy everything that went with it.
He did do it the hard way, though. Having finished third in the first round, he had to win through the repechage to give himself a chance of making the final. In the second round, he finished fourth and only made the final because Francois Pervis was relegated for moving out of the sprinters’ lane. But in the final, he rode the perfect race, defeating Max Levy of Germany to win the rainbow jersey.