Kenny, Pendleton keep British rolling at Olympics
It was hard to tell what sounded more deafening: Britain's Jason Kenny winning an Olympic sprint gold medal or Victoria Pendleton moving one step closer to doing the same thing.
The home nation's dominance of the London Velodrome continued Monday when Kenny swept Gregory Bauge of France in their best-of-three final to give Britain its fifth Olympic gold through seven track events. It was the second for Kenny, who teamed with Philip Hindes and Chris Hoy to win the team sprint earlier in the program.
''It's amazing. I hadn't thought about it until the last lap, then it suddenly dawned on me. It was quite the battle to get here,'' Kenny said. ''I didn't want to mess that one up.''
He certainly didn't do that.
Neither did Pendleton, the reigning world champion who earlier in the day cruised through the quarterfinals in the women's version of the sprint event.
Hoy will be back Tuesday to contest the men's keirin, and Laura Trott will start the final day of the program tied with Sarah Hammer of the United States in the multidiscipline women's omnium.
If Britain sweeps all three events, it would surpass the seven golds it won at the Beijing Games - the kind of dominance that has left rivals trying to figure out just how they're doing it.
''If I knew, I would tell you,'' Bauge said.
The only time Britain has missed out on gold was in the men's omnium, won by Denmark's Lasse Hansen, and the women's team sprint, when Pendleton and teammate Jessica Varnish were relegated from medal contention because of an illegal changeover.
Germany went on to win the gold medal when China also was relegated.
Pendleton didn't toy around with Olga Panarina of Belarus in the women's sprint quarterfinals Monday, easily winning the first match race and then using an explosive kick to win the second.
The reigning Olympic gold medalist remained in position for a showdown on the boards with her Australian rival Anna Meares. It was Meares who ended Pendleton's run of four straight world titles in 2011, and who Pendleton eliminated in the semifinals in May to regain her championship.
Meares took care of Lyubov Shulika of Ukraine to reach the semifinals, showing her own strong kick down the back stretch to win both their match races.
Also advancing to the semifinals was Kristina Vogel of Germany, part of the gold medal-winning sprint team who beat Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania in two straight races. Guo Shuang rallied after losing her first match race to take two straight from Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez of Cuba.
Trott won the 250-meter flying start and the elimination race during the six-event omnium, but she only finished 10th in the points race, leaving her tied with Hammer at the midway point.
Hammer, an individual pursuit world champion, was more consistent through the first three events and has her best disciplines still to come. Annette Edmondson of Australia is also within striking distance after finishing third in the flying lap and elimination race.
Hoy, the defending keirin champion, goes into Tuesday's event tied with Britain's Bradley Wiggins and Burton Downing of the U.S. with a record six Olympic track cycling medals.
The flying Scotsman will be challenged by world silver medalist Maximilian Levy of Germany, Shane Perkins of Australia and Njisane Nicholas Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago. Perkins landed on the podium by winning both match races.
''The form's there,'' Perkins said. ''Having a few wins under my belt gives me the confidence to go out and do my best.''
One rider Hoy won't have to contend with his Kenny.
New rules put in place for the London Games limit any nation to one rider per event, which means there will be no repeat of Beijing, when Hoy edged teammate Ross Edgar for the gold.
The way things have been going, that's a welcome relief for the rest of the competition.
''We are all very far behind (the British),'' French track cycling director Isabelle Gautheron said. ''I have to give homage to their performances, even if it feels bitter. We have to see how to avoid this scenario repeating itself.''