Laura Kenny says she considered retirement after suffering two breaks in crashes last year.
Kenny, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, suffered a major setback last season when she went down in the UCI Track World Cup round in Canada and again in the World Championships, suffering a broken shoulder and an initially undiscovered break to her arm.
The falls threatened to derail the 28-year-old’s preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, initially scheduled for last summer before the games were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with The Guardian Kenny, who is on the brink of becoming the most successful British woman Olympian in history, said she came close to quitting: “We have a week off after the [World Championships] and I just thought ‘I’ve had enough’.
“I was in so much pain and it didn’t help that my arm was broken and we didn’t even know.”
Kenny’s first crash happened in February 2020 during the World Cup omnium in Milton Canada, when a rival from Hong Kong crashed in front of her and sent Kenny over the bars and into the wood at high speed.
X-rays initially revealed Kenny had suffered a broken shoulder in the fall, but she opted to skip surgery to race in the World Championships in Berlin a month later.
In the opening scratch race at the Worlds, Kenny was caught in a four-rider crash and suffered break to her arm which initially went undiagnosed.
Kenny is now deep into her preparation for the delayed Tokyo Olympics still scheduled to take place this summer, but she admits the crash did knock her confidence.
She added: “It was a struggle getting back into a bunch.
“It made me think ‘Why am I putting myself through this, what’s the end game? I’ll just get hurt.’”
Aside from her injuries, Kenny and the British Olympic track team have experienced even more upheaval after the departure of team pursuit coach Paul Manning, who had been an integral part of Britain’s dominance in the discipline.
Manning has now been replaced be Monica Greenwood, the first female coach in the British Cycling Olympic Podium programme and Kenny admits the transition has been easier than she expected.
Despite the uncertainty, Kenny has revealed she intends to race on and hopes to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.