GLASGOW (Reuters) – Britain’s Laura Kenny felt guilty when she had to leave baby son Albie and go to work at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome on Sunday — but she felt much happier when she could bring home a second European Championship gold to show him.
The four-time Olympic champion, back to something near her best after her career break to start a family with husband and fellow multi-Olympic medallist Jason Kenny, won her speciality, the elimination race, to go with her team pursuit gold.
It was Kenny’s 12th European title, which she won in seemingly effortless fashion despite saying afterwards that she had not felt “good out there” after suffering a sleepless night while tending to 11-month-old Albie.
“He didn’t actually fall asleep at all last night the little sod, but you know, you get used to it. I don’t even feel like I’ve had a lack of sleep anymore, I just come in and get on with it,” Kenny laughed.
When the gold came down to a decisive sprint between her and Germany’s Anna Knauer on the last of the 40 laps, it proved no contest with the 26-year-old Kenny easing past on the back straight and surging away.
“It’s unbelievable, I’m just so happy,” said Kenny. “Before I came into it, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it because it’s been a year since I raced one of these and I was so nervous before it.”
Kenny, who gave birth to Albie last August, explained: “In the back of my head, I’m thinking when I went off this morning, ‘I’ve just left Albie for this’.
“I had mum guilt, he wasn’t very happy, he didn’t sleep very well. I was thinking ‘I don’t want to leave him for nothing, I want to take a medal home so he’s smiling.’”
Germany’s Domenic Weinstein won the men’s 4,000m individual pursuit, emulating his compatriot Lisa Brennauer, who had taken the equivalent women’s title over 3,000m on Saturday.
After defeating Portugal’s Ivo Oliveira in the final, Weinstein, the 2016 world silver medallist, paid an emotional tribute to his German team mate Kristina Vogel, who recently suffered a serious spinal injury in a training accident.
Daria Shmeleva won an all-Russian final showdown in the individual sprint, taking both races against her partner in the team sprint triumph, Anastasiia Voinova, to get a fifth European gold.
The men’s 40 kilometre points race was won by Polish specialist Wojciech Pszczolarski, winner of the same event in 2015 and bronze medallist at last year’s world championships.
(Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Clare Fallon)