British Cycling performance directeor Dave Brailsford is hopeful that Olympic sprint champion Jason Kenny’s low-key showing at the first round of the Track World Cup in Manchester at the weekend will serve as something of a wake-up call as he builds towards the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Kenny failed to qualify from the first round of the intermediate sprint, clocking only the 24th quickest time of the 41 competitors, and he was subsequently unable to land a medal in the keirin, finishing 4th behind winner François Pervis (France). Robert Förstemann (Germany) won the sprint.
“Jason not qualifying here this morning I think is a good thing, personally. It will be a bitter pill for him to swallow but it will wake him up, and they are the important things at this stage of the Olympic cycle,” Brailsford told BBC Sport.
In order to qualify for the sprint at the world championships in Cali in February, Kenny must finish in the top 30 of the World Cup standings, and he will be under pressure to perform more strongly in next month’s second round in Mexico City.
“Reputations don't matter. It doesn't matter who you are, you have to earn your place. He has to get his head down and graft," said Brailsford, who nonetheless said he was confident that Kenny’s form will improve quickly. “Do I have any real concerns? No. Everything is in place at this moment in time.”
Kenny’s disappointing showing aside, Brailsford’s British squad was again the dominant force in Manchester at the weekend, with Laura Trott claiming the women’s omnium and the British quartet setting a new world record in the women’s team pursuit.
Indeed, such is the strength in depth at Great Britain’s disposal that Brailsford has the apparent luxury of using the Cali Worlds as an opportunity to experiment with his roster.
“We might juggle up the line-ups in the teams a bit in Cali, and try a few things out," he said. "There is still time to test things out and experiment a little bit. Cali gives us the opportunity for that and we'll see what happens."