Laura and Jason Kenny win silver medals in Olympic team cycling finals | Tokyo Olympics 2020

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Jason Kenny became the UK’s most successful Olympian while his wife Laura Kenny added her fifth Olympic medal with corresponding silver medals.

Despite losing to the dominant Netherlands in the team sprint final, Kenny’s eighth Olympic medal means he is level with Sir Bradley Wiggins’ eight, overtaking Sir Chris Hoy with six gold and two silver medals.

“It’s nice – hobbled across the finish line with a silver,” Kenny said jokingly. “The main thing is that I hit Chris because I know it will annoy him. He’ll probably make a comeback for Paris now. It’s really nice, really special. It’s hard – every time I come to the games it seems to get harder. “

Kenny and his sprint team were beaten in the final by an Olympic record of 41.369 seconds from the Netherlands. The veteran British sprinter, who won the races in Beijing, London and Rio, had no excuses. “You were better than us today – very simple,” he said.

“We did the same thing we always do – we came, emptied the tanks and made our best trip. We pretty much got it to the point on the first lap – that was pretty much all we had. Then we rolled the dice in the final and it didn’t go that way. “

Less than half an hour earlier, the women’s team pursuit team led by Laura Kenny had been nearly overtaken when Germany set a world record to win the first medal race of the second day. The world record fell four times within 24 hours – first to Germany in qualifying, then to Great Britain in the first lap, then again to Germany in the run-up and again in the final.

Kenny, a four-time gold medalist, had never lost an Olympic final before. Britain has dominated the women’s team pursuit since it was added to the London Games in 2012 and defended their crown in 2016. But with bruises after a fall at the end of their run, they were no match for the Germans with their world record of 4 minutes 04,242 Sec.

Germany raced for gold in the women's team pursuit.Germany raced for gold in the women’s team pursuit. Photo: Christopher Jue / EPA

“We knew the conditions would be good on this track,” said Kenny. “Our target time was a six [4.06]; We just never expected anyone to go under four [4.04]. We can really be proud to do a 4.06 – that’s really something. At the moment it’s a bit disappointing that we didn’t get any gold as a result. “

The 29-year-old – Britain’s most decorated cyclist – said her first Olympic defeat hurt. “As an athlete you want to win everything. I don’t think it is any more difficult for me than anyone else to take silver. We put our hearts on gold, we wanted to win gold. “

Kenny said Jason told her for the first time in her career as a teammate that he was nervous during the competition. “That shocked me a bit, but then I saw him step up and break the Olympic record [in Great Britain’s heat] and thought: ‘He’s not nervous.’ “

These nerves turned out to be well founded. While the Netherlands were able to replace one driver in the final (with four sprinters), the British trio Kenny, Jack Carlin and Ryan Owens had to complete qualifying, the heat and the final in less than two hours. “Not to be pessimistic, but hey would have hit us anyway,” said Kenny.

The disappointment with silver in the men’s team sprint and the women’s team pursuit was compounded by a fall in the men’s team pursuit against Denmark. The world champions were way too fast for the British, who have held the Olympic title since 2008, but there was confusion when leading Danish rider Frederik Madsen hit the rear wheel of outlandish British rider Charlie Tanfield. Finally, officials confirmed Denmark would fight for gold on Wednesday, while Britain was relegated to seventh place.

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The three events have been dominated by the UK for the past decade. But Jason Kenny insisted that their reign was not over yet. “We were always on the right side of the few tenths it takes to win,” he said. “This time we were on the wrong side.”

Laura Kenny said she would recover for the Omnium and Madison. “We have two more in endurance women,” she said. “Don’t count us out yet.”

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