Jason Kenny takes his third gold of the Rio Olympics in the men's keirin after two nerve-wracking restarts
Jason Kenny took his third gold medal of the Rio Olympics, the sixth of his career, after another powerful ride in the keirin. At 28, the win puts Kenny joint top of the all-time British medal winners along with his former teammate Chris Hoy.
And it means that over the course of three Olympic Games, Kenny has only lost one race, the sprint final to Chris Hoy in Beijing 2008, when he was just 20-years-old.
In the keirin, the final event on the track, Kenny came alongside Damian Zielinski (Pol) and Joachim Eilers (Ger) in the back straight, moved ahead coming out of the final banking and stayed ahead all the way down the home straight as Matthijs Buchli (Ned) and Azizulhasni Awang (Mal) came through with him to claim the silver and bronze medals.
“I actually really enjoyed today,” Kenny admitted immediately after coming off the track. “I’m so tired it feels like I’m floating through it.”
The win for Kenny came after an agonising wait following two false starts. In the first running of the final the judges called a false start as riders passed the derny pace bike as it swung off the track, down the back straight.
Riders circled around the track apron for several minutes as the judges in the track centre went over and over the footage.
It appeared they were struggling to split Jason Kenny and Azizulhasni Awang as the pair’s front wheels were level and passed the derny’s back wheel as it pulled off the track.
The wait went on as GB coaches conferred with the judges over the UCI rules that are often ambiguous, and for a while it seemed like Kenny could be disqualified.
The judges struggled as the camera in the home straight was not level with the line where the derny swings off, and to make such a big decision without a perfectly clear view was deemed to be unfair.
As the crowd started to get anxious, eventually it was decided that all six riders would take the start again.
And then it happened again.
German Joachim Eilers, sprinting over the top of his five rivals clearly passed the derny before it had left the track and the gun went again to denote a false start. But again, without a perfectly clear view, the judges decided no rider would be disqualified.
The derny rider was also partially at fault as the rider seemed to come off the throttle as soon as it dropped down off the track. Usually a derny, with momentum built up by it’s heavy motor, would continue to accelerate as it pulled away.
The new electric derny, which remains unpopular with fans as the lack of noise fails to build any excitement, seems to lack such momentum and immediately decelerates as soon as the driver comes off the throttle.
Thankfully it was a case of third time lucky as the riders held back when the derny pulled off.
Eilers safely took the lead as Kenny sat in third, staying out of trouble. As the speed picked up, Kenny moved up on to the leaders shoulders down the back straight and from that point there was only going to be one outcome.
After six days of competition, Kenny still had speed in abundance over his rivals.
The win for Kenny came hot on the heels of Laura Trott winning the omnium, taking her fourth gold medal and with it becoming Britain’s greatest ever female Olympian.
At 24, Trott may go on to become Britain’s greatest Olympian, it seems her only rival for that is her fiancée Kenny.
The golden pair lead the ten o’clock news that had been delayed by the false starts in the keirin, with reporters pointing out that with five gold medals between them in Rio their household would currently sit 13th in the medal table.
As Britain’s rival’s were left scratching their heads again, and even throwing a few accusations around, GB was sat well clear at the top of the cycling medal table with 12 medals, six of which were gold.
With Katy Marchant taking a bronze in the women’s sprint, it meant that every member of the GB track team who took to the velodrome won a medal.
2016 Olympic Games, Men’s Keirin
1. Jason Kenny (Gbr) 10.113
2. Matthijs Buchli (Ned) +0.040
3. Azizulhasni Awang (MAS) +0.085
4. Joachim Eilers (Ger) +0.110
5. Fabian Puerta (Col) +0.113
6. Damian Zielinksi (Pol) +0.594
7 – 12th final
7. Sam Webster (NZL) 10.206
8. Michael D’Almeida (Fra) +0.009
9. Krzysztof Maksel (Pol) +0.107
10. Matthew Glaetzer (Aus) +0.322
11. Francois Pervis (Fra) +0.406
12. Christos Volikakis (Gre) +0.514