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Laura Kenny wins cycling madison to become first British woman to strike gold at three Olympics

Written by on 06/08/2021

Laura Kenny has won the fifth gold medal of her career after taking the Olympic title in the women’s cycling madison – making her the first British woman to win gold at three consecutive Olympic Games.

Kenny, 29, claimed gold alongside Katie Archibald in the first ever Olympic women’s Madison. The event sees pairs of riders from 15 nations rack up points through sprints, while covering 30km in 120 laps of the velodrome.

The medal takes Kenny’s career total to six and sees her become the joint most-decorated British athlete, alongside equestrian Charlotte Dujardin.

She has also surpassed Dutchwoman Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel to become the most successful female cyclist in Olympic history.

Great Britain's Laura Kenny (left) and Katie Archibald celebrate winning gold
Image: Kenny (left) and Archibald won the event comfortably

It is Archibald’s second Olympic gold and third medal in total.

Kenny, asked what it felt like to be become the first female British Olympian to win a gold medal at three successive Olympic Games, told the BBC: “It’s unbelievable. I am just so glad.

“I have never wanted to win a race so badly in my life. It was giving me fears like never before. But we went and did it.”

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Kenny, invited to send a message to her son Albie back home in the UK, added: “I have never missed him so much in all my life. It’s so hard leaving him at home. To have Katie here – it feels like I am racing with my sister. I couldn’t have done it without her.”

The British pair started off strong, winning the first three sprints on the track and then further extending their advantage after the Dutch pair of Kirsten Wild and Amy Pieters, reigning world champions, were caught in a crash with a little over 70 laps remaining.

Athletes compete during the track cycling women's madison race. Pic: AP
Image: Athletes compete during the track cycling women’s madison race. Pic: AP

In the second half of the race the British duo pulled further ahead, hoovering up points in the sprints and gaining a lap with a little over 20 to go.

By the end of the race, they had won 10 of the 12 sprints – including the double points for the last lap – to finish with 78 points, more than twice the tally of second-placed Denmark on 35.

This is the first ever running of the women’s Madison, with the event also returning to the men’s programme for the first time since 2008.

Earlier, Team GB’s Jack Carlin lost his men’s sprint semi-final against the Netherlands’ Harrie Lavreysen.

Carlin will face Denis Dmitriev of the Russian Olympic Committee for the bronze medal later today.

 Sky News

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