Jason Kenny revelling in favourite period of Olympic cycle
Jason Kenny is in his element as Great Britain prepare for the second leg of the UCI Track World Cup season in Glasgow this weekend.
Six-time Olympic champion Kenny will race in the team sprint on Friday alongside local boy Jack Carlin, Ryan Owens and Joe Truman.
It is another key stage on the road to the Tokyo Games next summer and, as that draws ever closer, Kenny is reminded why he reversed his initial decision to retire after the Rio Olympics.
“This is the time I enjoy now,” Kenny told the PA news agency. “It becomes focused. Everyone’s got their job to do. They’ve got their day that they’ve got to be there and it’s all got to work. Failure is not an option.
“This is the best time to be involved in the team. I can just get on with my job and concentrate on performances.
“This is what I love, when you get that buzz in the team.”
The weekend will give Great Britain another chance to measure themselves up against the competition, which at present is led by a Dutch team that has won the last two world and European titles.
Holland beat Kenny, Carlin and Owens to gold in the opening round of the World Cup in Minsk last weekend, but Kenny believes they are where they need to be at this stage in the cycle.
“I’m confident we’re in a good place,” the 31-year-old said. “I’ve got faith in the team and faith in all the people around us.
“We’re all pushing as hard as we can and as long as everyone is on board and pushing in the right direction, we know from previous cycles that can produce some phenomenal performances.”
With two-time Olympic champion Phil Hindes having withdrawn from the squad to focus on training, Kenny will again ride alongside Carlin and Owens – the trio that took silver in the European Championships in Apeldoorn – while the 22-year-old Truman will also get his chance over the weekend.
It promises to be a special weekend for the Paisley-born Carlin as he competes in the velodrome where his track cycling career effectively began after it was built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“It’s played a massive role for me,” the 22-year-old said. “When it opened up it gave me the opportunity to stay away from the cold and wet of outside in Scotland.
“It’s been really influential in getting me to where I am now. It holds a special place in my heart.”
Carlin will have plenty of friends and family in the stands willing the British team on to victory, but with the Olympics now coming into sight, he knows they must stick to their plan and focus on performances before results.
“We just want to back up the last couple of events we went to – the Europeans and the World Cup in Minsk – have another couple of solid rides,” Carlin said.
“Ryan, Jason and I are going really well and getting more and more drilled as a team. In the last event in Minsk we were only a tenth of a second off the time the boys did in Rio in the final, so it’s really positive. We’re going really well as a team.”