After winning gold in the inaugural women's Madison alongside Katie Archibald on Friday, Great Britain’s Laura Kenny was unable to defend her women's Omnium title won in Rio after a crash in the opening Scratch race marred her chances on the final day of racing in Izu velodrome.
Kenny was caught in a pile-up in the penultimate lap of the scratch race, putting her on the back foot from the start of the event she has dominated for years.
Kenny and nine other riders who crashed and failed to finish were given 16 points which still left the Briton trailing by 24 points ahead of the elimination race.
She fought for points and tried to gain a lap in the final points race but finished sixth with 96 points. The USA’s Jennifer Valente won gold with 124 points. Home-nation favourite, Yumi Kajihara took the silver medal and Dutch rider Kirsten Wild won bronze.
“You might as well end the year the way you started it, you just couldn’t make it up,” Kenny told the BBC after the race, referring to her crash from the 2020 World Championships in Berlin which also cost her a potential Omnium title.
"I hit them so fast because I was just about to come over and bam, I literally had nowhere to go and I had a mountain to climb.
"In the tempo race I just rode off adrenaline and then we only had 20 minutes. When I got into the elimination race I just felt really tired instantly and I just thought 'this is bad'.
The 29-year-old went on to win the Tempo race putting her in fifth overall at one point but she was unable to recover for the elimination and points races.
“When we got into the elimination race I couldn’t have felt any further away from me if I tried,” she said. “When I set off I just felt really tired instantly and I just thought ‘this is bad’.”
"In the points race I had nothing to lose. I just wish we had got a lap and then obviously I would have jumped up the standings.”
Kenny’s Olympic campaign may not have ended on a high but she was content with her performance overall, particularly with winning gold in the Madison with Katie Archibald after a dominant performance.
"To be honest I was done after the Madison,” Kenny admitted.
“You just hit such a high. That really was the race that we targeted. We put so much work into that and I think because we did win you just go: 'job done'.”
Asked about her future, and with the upcoming World Championships in October, Kenny said: “I can’t see myself quitting any time soon.”
Kenny shared the Olympic spotlight with her husband Jason, who won his record breaking seventh gold medal with a surprise attack in the men’s Keirin. They are now looking forward to travelling back to Britain to see their four-year-old son, Albie.
“I literally cannot wait, I came in earlier and I was like ‘last day.’ Honestly, it feels like a really long two weeks to be honest and I think that’s made worse by the fact that Albie’s at home.”
Before that Kenny will serve as a flag bearer for Great Britain at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
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