Jason Kenny wins sprint gold as Mark Cavendish gets Rio lifeline

By Aimee LewisBBC Sport at Lee Valley VeloPark
2016 Track Cycling World Championships
Venue: Lee Valley VeloPark, London Dates: 2-6 March
Coverage: Live BBC coverage on TV, radio and online. Click for listings.

Britain's Jason Kenny won sprint gold and Mark Cavendish was offered an Olympic lifeline on an intriguing day at the Track World Championships.

Kenny beat Australia's Matthew Glaetzer in a deciding sprint to win his third world title and first since 2013.

Cavendish, 30, finished sixth in the six-race omnium, outside of the top-three target he was told he needed to be considered for Olympic selection.

However GB Cycling chief Shane Sutton said: "We're not discounting Mark."

The real Kenny stands up

Triple Olympic champion Jason Kenny rose to the occasion at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London with a stunning sprint gold.

The 27-year-old rode home in 10.786 seconds in the deciding race to claim his second world title in the sport's blue riband event.

"It was a real slog, the time was slow, it wasn't the prettiest race of the day. Those last few rides were tough," said Kenny.

Having lost the first of the best-of-three sprints by two thousandths of a second, Kenny rode well tactically in the second to take it to the deciding third, which he won comfortably.

Until his sprint victory, Kenny had won more Olympic titles than world titles, despite the latter being held annually.

Kenny is again peaking at the right time, returning to the speed which won him the Olympic sprint title in 2012.

The Briton, who this week admitted his record at the worlds was "bizarre", said he knew he had found his form during qualifying.

Analysis from 11-time world champion Sir Chris Hoy
"He nailed that last race and had it won with 100m to go. He was patient, he bluffed, and just waited and ran with so much speed.
"It's the way he's bounced back from all the doubters, it's the way he turned it around. He's really been out of it, he's been working hard, but for whatever reason it's not been working for him. It's great to see him doing so well."

Cavendish optimistic for Rio

Britain's selectors have an Olympic dilemma in the omnium as they have a number of options. Jon Dibben is Cavendish's main rival for a place on the team after the 22-year-old made a strong case for inclusion with a brilliant ride in winning the points race world title on Friday.

In finishing sixth with 161 points - 30 points adrift of the winner - Cavendish failed to meet the target set by his boss Sutton. Adding to the Cavendish conundrum is that his omnium inclusion would mean having to select the Manxman as part of the five-man team pursuit squad.

His coach Heiko Salzwedel has admitted the three-time world champion has a "long way to go" to reach the required standard in that event and the 26-time Tour de France stage winner will have to prove he can combine his road and track commitments.

Sutton told BBC Sport that Cavendish showed "real quality" this week and did not rule out selecting the Briton.

"The name didn't help him. The greatest road sprinter of all time comes to the boards," said the Australian.

"We'll sit down and discuss with Mark. He and Heiko will have a lot of analysis this week. He didn't get the result he wanted. That decision is between him, us and his coaching team."

Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy told the BBC that Cavendish had not done enough in London to warrant a place in the Olympic team.

Dame Sarah Storey agreed, adding: "He's progressed enormously, but I don't think there's enough time for him to prove himself."

Former Olympic champion Chris Boardman said: "It's going to be difficult to select him on this. He's acquitted himself well but it's a different thing to sprinting on the road."

But Cavendish, who will ride in the madison with Sir Bradley Wiggins on Sunday, told BBC Sport he was still optimistic of competing in Rio for a first Olympic title.

"Hopefully I did enough. I don't know, we're incredibly lucky in Britain that we've got a strong group of guys," he said.

In an exciting finale, the omnium was won by defending champion Fernando Gaviria. The Colombian finished on 191 points for a three-way tie with Germany's Roger Kluge and Australia's Glenn O'Shea, with Gaviria taking it for finishing better than his two rivals in the final sprint.

Trott on course for another medal

Laura Trott is well placed to win her third medal of the week as she is second at the halfway stage of the women's omnium.

The double Olympic champion, who has already won scratch gold and team pursuit bronze at these championships, is level on 112 points with America's Sarah Hammer who leads the standings after winning the elimination race.

Trott, third in the omnium scratch and second in the 3km individual pursuit, came second in the elimination.

Three events remain in the gruelling six-event competition, with gold decided on Sunday's final day.

Nelson's a happy debutant

Teenager Emily Nelson finished fifth in a women's points race which was won by Poland's Katarzyna Pawlowska.

The 19-year-old described her debut a the World Championships as "incredible", praising the support of the "amazing" crowd.

"I'm gutted that I didn't medal, but I'm so happy with fifth. I'm happy with how I rode," she told BBC Sport.

Track World Championships: Schedule, GB squad and TV coverage times

Top Stories