Kenny wins sprint title in decider, Gaviria defends omnium
LONDON (AP) Jason Kenny won the men's sprint title, edging Matthew Glaetzer in a third-race decider on the penultimate day Saturday of the track cycling world championships.
Glaetzer won the first of the sprints by centimeters but the British rider forced a decisive race which the Australian rider led off, keeping a wary eye on Kenny over his shoulder.
Glaetzer was ahead until the final bend when Kenny caught him and went ahead, eventually winning by a wheel in front of an ecstatic home crowd at the Lee Valley VeloPark, scene of Kenny's Olympic victory.
''To win the sprint is special,'' Kenny said. ''It's the blue riband event, plus it's a long day. It's a bit emotional to pop out the other side. Twelve months ago I remember sitting in the stands, watching the semifinal and the final and it just seemed like a world away. I'd been first-round fodder and we'd all gone home early.''
Kenny is looking to defend his individual and team sprint titles at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
''I don't think I'll ever feel like I'm ready for Rio,'' he said. ''You always feel like you need to have more time. The key thing between now and the games - it doesn't matter whether we've won here or lost - it's about making the most of every day. To win in Rio we know we'll have to go better again.''
It is Kenny's second individual sprint title after he was upgraded to the 2011 gold medal when Gregory Bauge's results were wiped out after he was banned for missing doping tests.
Defending champion Bauge was sixth in London, finishing his competition without a medal, but he was not concerned, immediately looking to Rio.
''It was a world championships but not so important for me - I have nine world titles on the track,'' Bauge told The Associated Press. ''At the world championships in 2012 I beat Jason Kenny, and then he won in London, so the most important thing is the Olympics.''
Fernando Gaviria made a successful defense of his omnium title after the sixth and final event, the points race.
The men race 160 laps of the track with sprints every 10 laps when the first four are awarded points.
The Colombian rider, who was second going into the final event, registered points in eight of the 10 laps.
He finished on the same total of 191 as Roger Kluge and Glenn O'Shea but Gaviria's victory was decided by the order they finished in the 10th and final sprint.
''It was an epic battle,'' Gaviria said through a translator. ''All the riders were very strong and I am just pleased that I managed to defend my title. I keep an eye out for what my rivals are doing and with the help of the boards I know what I have to do.''
Racing six events over two days requires mental as well as physical strength. ''Some people say I am crazy,'' he said. ''I don't think about the race too much, I just go with the flow, and I try not to make too many childish mistakes, which at my age (21) would be very normal to make.''
Gaviria will turn to road racing with Etixx-Quick-Step when he competes in the Torreno-Adriatico and Milan San-Remo races before returning to Belgium and then on to Rio.
Katarzyna Pawlowska won the women's points race, the Polish rider taking victory after 100 laps of the track. Jasmin Glaesser and Ardenis Sierra Canadilla were second and third.
The race featured a collision that saw three riders crash out and Ireland's Caroline Ryan going over a grounded rider and hitting the boards heavily. Ryan cut her face after her visor came off. She was placed in a precautionary neck brace and taken to hospital.
Sarah Hammer leads the omnium, on the same points as Laura Trott, with three events remaining.