Olympics cycling: Jason Kenny inspired by Hoy's golden example

Jason Kenny

Jason Kenny admitted he was spurred on to victory in the men's sprint by the thought he could not let his Olympic room-mate Sir Chris Hoy down.

A change in the rules for London 2012's track cycling meant that each country could only select one rider per event.

Faced with a tough decision between the two friends, British cycling's chiefs opted for the younger man.

"It dawned on me in the last lap that if Chris had been in my shoes there was no way he would have lost," said Kenny.

"It was quite the battle with Chris to get here, and I didn't want to mess it up.

"If you look back at Chris's history you can see that nine times out of 10 he gets it done.

"He's got that killer instinct, and that's why he has won so many medals.

Jason Kenny beats Gregory Bauge

"I'm really pleased to win but it is a shame that we could not have both been out there."

Kenny's emphatic victory over the pre-competition favourite, Frenchman Gregory Bauge, makes him Great Britain's first double Olympic gold medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, having already won the team sprint gold on Thursday alongside Hoy and Philip Hindes.

And at just 24, he now has three Olympic golds and a silver to his name.

That silver medal came from the final of this event in Beijing, where he was beaten by Hoy. But there was little between the pair until Kenny beat the 36-year-old Scot in the semi-finals at the World Championships in Melbourne in April.

Victory there, however, was followed by a 2-0 defeat by Bauge in the final, a repeat of the score in the previous World Championships in Apeldoorn.

That was, briefly, Bauge's third straight world title but he was later stripped of the gold medal for missing drugs tests that year. Kenny received his gold in the post but there was no such delayed gratification this time.

Having started the contest with an Olympic record in the flying 200m time trial that decides the seedings, the softly spoken lad from Bolton blazed through the qualification rounds.

His first real test looked like being the talented Njisane Nicholas Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago, but he was dispatched with two masterful displays of speed and tactical ability.

Bauge, however, was supposed to be too strong, too powerful, and many experts wondered if Hoy would have been a better bet against the 27-year-old Frenchman.

All-time gold GB heroes

Kenny answered those questions in emphatic fashion, another 2-0 win that was far easier than anybody could have imagined.

"I am really pleased about that," he said. "I like racing against him. He's a real pro rider and it always makes for some pretty exciting racing.

"But having faced somebody at the last two World Championship finals who it felt like they were unbeatable, well, it's very satisfying to turn that around.

"One thing that Gregory has always had is raw power - that is definitely something he has had over us.

"So it was a case of going away to try to close that gap, and we have. It's a job well done by all the coaches and everybody back [at British Cycling's base] in Manchester."

Bauge, for his part, admitted to being shocked by Kenny's improvement, and took the unusual step of taking the microphone in the press conference to ask the Englishman about it.

The modest Kenny replied that there were no secrets to it, just hard work.

"I've lost them both, a nil, so there's not much to say," said Bauge about the final. "But I don't think Kenny is stronger than me.

"I'm disappointed for myself and for those who encouraged me, so kisses to the French people, the people in Guadeloupe and all my friends.

"But this makes another medal for France, so in terms of the total I think we are OK."

Britain's total is considerably better than OK. With three of the 10 events in the track cycling programme to be decided on Tuesday's final day in the velodrome, Team GB have won five golds and one bronze.

And with Laura Trott leading the women's omnium, Victoria Pendleton in the semi-final of the women's sprint and Hoy going in the keirin, Britain could beat the seven gold medals they won in Beijing.

Add those to the gold, silver and bronze already won in road cycling, and you can see why British Cycling's methods are being analysed by sports teams around the globe.

Not that any of that is going to turn Kenny's head.

"I just really enjoy what I do now," he explained. "I don't do this for fame or money, which is just as well, as I don't have any.

"I just enjoy what I do and I hope to carry on with my lifestyle as it is now. I love cycling - it is by far the best way to get around Manchester, too."

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