|UCI Track Cycling World Championships 2018|
|Venue: Omnisport Apeldoorn, Netherlands Dates: 28 February to 4 March Coverage: Live on BBC Red Button, connected TV and online|
Six-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny returned to international competition to help Great Britain to silver in the men’s team sprint at the Track Cycling World Championships.
Kenny, who took a break from the sport after the 2016 Olympics, was joined by Jack Carlin and Ryan Owens, as Netherlands edged a thrilling final.
The hosts’ time of 42.72 seconds in Apeldoorn bettered Britain’s 43.23secs.
It was a second Dutch gold as Kirsten Wild took the women’s scratch race.
The 35-year-old added to her win in the same event in 2015 as she thrilled home fans by landing the first medal of the championships.
‘They have to be pleased with silver’
Kenny, 29, has admitted he was fed up with the sport eight months before winning three gold medals at Rio 2016 and says he only chose to return after helping wife Laura Kenny in the early stages of her training following the birth of their first child.
In bringing Britain home to beat 2017 world champions New Zealand in the semi-finals, Jason Kenny looked to be in fine form.
Although the British team rotated riders during the rounds, they could not seal a first gold in the event since 2005 against an impressive Dutch unit, with France taking bronze.
After a superb 17.04-second opening lap by the Dutch trio – almost matched by Britain with Carlin leading off a 17.18-second effort – it fell to Kenny to try to chase down Jeffrey Hoogland in the final lap, a challenge which proved beyond him.
“I think they have to be pleased with that,” said BBC Sport analyst Chris Boardman. “That was one of the fastest opening laps I’ve ever seen. These are incredible times. They might have got a silver but they have to be pleased with that ride.
“A World Championship it might be but we have lots of young riders and Great Britain were happy to experiment.”
GB medal hopes on Thursday
Laura Kenny will look to claim gold on Thursday in the final of the women’s team pursuit.
Kenny – competing in her first major event since giving birth six months ago – teamed with Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Emily Nelson to qualify second fastest, behind USA.
The 25-year-old tweeted: “Felt like I was back at my first worlds all over again today.. nervous/excited and everything else in between. Second fastest for us. Two more to go.”
The quartet will be back in action in round one at 17:30 GMT on Thursday – live on BBC Red Button and online – with the final later in the evening.
Archibald and Barker claimed Britain’s only gold medals at last year’s championship in the omnium and points race respectively, with USA claiming gold in the team pursuit.
The men’s team pursuit quartet of Ed Clancy, Kian Emadi, Ethan Hayter and Charlie Tanfield clocked three minutes 56.34 seconds over the 4,000 metres to beat Germany by almost two seconds.
They will now look to claim gold in the event for the first time since 2012 when they face Denmark in the final, though the Danish quartet were markedly faster on Wednesday with a 3:54.496 effort.
‘I paid my price early’ – Archibald
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Germany’s Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte landed world team sprint gold for the fourth time as a pair, adding to wins in 2012, 2013 and 2014 with a thrilling victory over Netherlands.
Russia, brought home by the impressive Anastasiia Voinova, claimed bronze as the British pair of Lauren Bate and Katy Marchant failed to make the final stages.
Archibald briefly threatened a medal in the 40-lap women’s scratch race. The 23-year-old was one of several riders to give chase when Ireland’s Lydia Gurley attacked with 12 laps to go.
But she dropped to finish sixth as Netherlands’ Wild produced an expertly timed attack with five laps remaining to win under little pressure.
“I think the first half is where I paid my price really, just a little bit too much enthusiasm,” Archibald told BBC Sport.