Team GB’s bogey event, the Team Sprint, threw up another curveball in Apeldoorn today when man one Jason Kenny slipped his wheel at the start, lost momentum, and the trio ended up fifth fastest and out of the medal rides.
Britain’s sprint coach Jan Van Eijden said it was nothing more than a mishap and no one was to blame, but GB are running out of time as they try and make up ground on the French and German sprinters ahead of the 2012 Olympics.
Kenny’s wheel slipped as he got away from the start line. He starts on his left foot, and got away cleanly, but as he pushed down for the first time with his right foot his rear wheel slipped, almost bringing him to a standstill.
At that point Kenny could have put his hand up and asked for a restart, or even thrown himself on the ground, but to his credit he carried on, eventually posting an 18.2 second lap. It put Matt Crampton and Sir Chris Hoy well down on the other teams, but they fought back to finish just over one tenth of a second down on fourth place and a bronze medal ride later on.
“It’s just something [that happens], we’re not going to blame anyone,” said Van Eijden. “The only thing you can see on the video is that there is a wheel slip, we’ll go home and look at everything and see what could have caused it, but we might never find out. We’ll look at the possibilities, it could just be that Jason leaned too far forward and didn’t have enough weight on the back wheel.”
Hoy posted on his Facebook page that the officials should have fired the gun for a false start as he had overtaken Kenny when he stalled, but, according to Van Eijden, this rule isn’t clear cut, and that the GB camp were happy with the judges’ decision.
The Team Sprint has been a problem for GB ever since Jamie Staff retired. The former BMXer was the fastest Man One in the world, and replacing him has proved difficult. Although Kenny is ever improving as Man One, the coaches have also brought in Liam Philips from BMX and brought back Jason Queally from retirement and a foray in to team pursuiting.
Thankfully GB are comfortably in the top three, along with France and Germany, in Olympic qualification standings, so missing out on the points here in Apeldoorn shouldn’t prove a problem. Nonetheless, their preparation in this event for the London Olympics is likely to go down to the wire.
Great Britain teams were the fastest qualifiers in both the men’s and women’s team pursuit. Dani King, Jo Rowsell and Laura Trott posted a 3-22.414 while Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas clocked a 4-01.475 on the somewhat slow Apeldoorn track.
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