Commonwealth Games: Laura Kenny wins scratch race gold at track cycling

By Katie FalkinghamBBC Sport at Lee Valley VeloPark
2022 Commonwealth Games
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV with extra streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live text and clips online.

England's Laura Kenny won a stunning track cycling scratch race gold at the Commonwealth Games, a day after thinking it would be her final race amid a "serious confidence crisis".

On the Lee Valley VeloPark track where she made her name at the 2012 Olympics, Kenny timed her attack to perfection under deafening roars from the crowd.

It is England's first cycling gold of the Birmingham Games, and Kenny's first Commonwealth title since 2014.

"I can't believe it," she said.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the 30-year-old added: "I said to Jase [Jason Kenny - her husband]: 'I think this is going to be my last race.'"

Her victory comes months after she suffered a miscarriage, followed by an ectopic pregnancy, after which she considered quitting the sport.

"I watched Adam Peaty completely reflect in his interview and I thought, that is me all over," Kenny said.

"I've lost the spark, training doesn't come that easy. Every day I'm like 'here we go again'.

"I've been through three Olympic cycles now. To keep picking yourself up after this whole year has been a nightmare... I have absolutely just lost motivation.

"Then last night I was messaging my new coach Len and I was like 'no, I'm not giving up, I have one more roll of the dice - please just help me'. It could not have been better set up if I tried."

New Zealand's Michaela Drummond was second while Canada's Maggie Coles-Lyster won the bronze, with Scotland's Neah Evans finishing an agonising fourth having led at the bell for the final lap.

Kenny, Great Britain's most successful female Olympian with five golds, won bronze in the team pursuit earlier in the Games but was off the pace in Sunday's points race, finishing 13th.

The first two of her Olympic golds came at London 2012, a decade ago.

But she said she was left with a "bad taste" after team-mate Matt Walls was involved in a horrific crash on Sunday, in which he and his bike catapulted into the crowd.

"To cross the line here in London, I could not ask for anything more," Kenny said.

"Sunday left a pretty bad taste to be honest. I just wasn't in the right frame of mind.

"You see Matt Walls crash like that and it really makes you think: 'What am I doing?' I have been so lucky; in my whole career I have had one broken shoulder and one broken arm.

"You see something like that... I was having a serious confidence crisis. I just didn't want to be on the track - and when that happens, I race badly and I don't get a result. And that's what happened.

"Whereas today, I was so fired up. I kept saying to myself in the toilet, 'I can do this'.

"Some man on the start line said 'you've got this Laura' and I felt like turning round to him and saying 'yes I have'. I was like a completely different bike rider."

'That one's for him' - Capewell dedicates medal to late father

It wasn't long before the largely English crowd at the velodrome were on their feet again, as Sophie Capewell won silver in the women's keirin, the race immediately after Kenny's.

It was 23-year-old Capewell's second medal inside 24 hours, having won 500m time trial bronze on Sunday.

She dedicated the medal to her father, Nigel, who died in October 2021.

"Most of today has been a bit of a blur. I've been feeling a bit under the weather probably since the sprint day. I took it one race at a time today and I'm so proud of myself," she told BBC Sport.

"I'm just so proud, without getting too emotional, I lost my dad and I just think he's with me a little bit.

"It's been a really, really hard past few years basically and that one's for him. Everything's for him going forward.

"I know he'd be screaming in the stands for that one, because I nearly got it right. It means much more than I can put into words."

Another medal was to follow for England, with Ollie Wood winning bronze in the men's points race.

The 26-year-old finished on 35 points, as New Zealand took gold and silver with Aaron Gate winning on 45 points and Campbell Stewart second on 38.

Wood's bronze adds to the silver he won in the team pursuit on Friday.

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