Jason Kenny of Great Britain set a new Olympic record in the 200m flying start in the qualifying round of the men's individual sprint at the London Olympic velodrome on Saturday.
The British rider was second to last off and rounded the track with a blistering 9.713 second effort, a full tenth of a second faster than Hoy's record. It was an astounding feat in a race which is normally decided by hundredths of seconds.
The time was still well shy of the world record of 9.572 set by Frenchman Kevin Sireau on the 333m track in Moscow, which consistently turns out world records in the sprints thanks to its unique configuration. It was surely one of the fastest laps performed on the Olympic velodrome: Sir Chris Hoy recorded a 9.932 at the test event in February.
"Brilliant, just brilliant. So pleased for Jason! Now bring on the match sprints," Hoy said via Twitter.
Kenny seemed to cruise through the lap, hardly getting out of the saddle and taking the most efficient path down the banking for the maximum speed. He topped the time of Australia's Shane Perkins, who rode to a 9.987, and even Gregory Baugé, the last starter and world champion, could not come close to the new record mark, setting a 9.952.
For Perkins, the effort was a relief after he fell ill earlier in the week and was not at his best. "I did not sleep very well. I caught a bit of a virus the night before the team sprint so I had to move out into another building, so my teammates wouldn't catch it," Perkins explained. "It sort of knocked the edge of me a bit but I'm not complaining. Considering all that I'm pretty happy and my form's still good."
Thanks to the withdrawal of Dutch rider Teun Mulder from the sprints - he opted out of the event to focus on the keirin - Kenny's 1/16 final was a bye, and, much to the confusion of the crowds, Baugé also was awarded his heat after the withdrawal of the Greek rider Zafeirios Volikakis, who was injured in the qualifying round.
Perkins also advanced in his heat. "I'm happy with the qualifying. I'm in under ten (seconds) I'm really happy with that. The times in my training were quicker and, hopefully, I'm doing Australia proud by getting into the next round."
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