Laura Kenny (Matrix Fitness), one of four cyclists nominated for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) agrees with the numerous people who think three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) should have been included on the shortlist.
However, she recognises that selecting sixteen individuals from all the achievements of British athletes this year would have been tough, particularly as success at the Rio Olympics is also taken into account.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly at the Revolution Series Elite Women’s Championship at the weekend, Kenny said, “If Chris had won in the Olympics then maybe he would have been nominated, but because of how strong the Olympic squad was, and there are already four cyclists up for the award, that would have made for quite a few cyclists already on the list!”
Kenny, along with the other SPOTY-nominated cyclists, Dame Sarah Storey, Kadeena Cox and husband Jason Kenny, have been selected on the basis of their achievements at the Olympics and Paralympics.
It appears that Froome’s accolades in the Tour de France made less impact with the SPOTY expert panel than Olympic performance when it came to selecting cyclists.
Laura Kenny talks about getting back into riding after a summer break
On this point, Kenny does not concur as she believes cycling success in other competitions is judged on a level playing field with achievements at the Olympics.
She added, “In the nominations there are two footballers, a golfer, and Andy Murray isn’t technically up for it just for the Olympics. It’d be because he’s world number one.”
However, Kenny also believes that placing extra focus on the Olympics is merited because athletes will have trained to peak on one day in a four-year cycle.
Kenny added, “Being able to do that is pretty impressive, and for many sports the Olympics is the pinnacle of their performance, so I think it would be hard to not take this into account.”
Laura Kenny was racing for the first time since the Rio Olympics, representing her team, Matrix Fitness, at the Revolution Series in London, and won the elimination race in the Elite Women’s Championships.
She plans to resume training for the new format omnium, as well as preparing for the inaugural women’s National Madison Championships in January where she will be paired with Olympic Academy Programme youngster, Emily Nelson.