United States deny new mum Kenny fairytale return


Apeldoorn (Netherlands) (AFP)

The United States denied new mum Laura Kenny a golden return to cycling after an 18-month break when they defeated the British team to take the women's pursuit gold medal at the world championships on Thursday.

Jennifer Valente, Chloe Dygert, Kimberly Geist and Kelly Catlin triumphed for the United States ahead of Kenny, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Emily Dickinson.

Italy won bronze over Canada.

Laura and husband Jason Kenny, a fellow multiple Olympic gold medallist, have both returned to the saddle in the Netherlands after an 18-month sabbatical to get married and start a family.

"I only returned to training around four months back," said four-time Olympic gold medallist Kenny who gave birth to son Albie just six months ago.

"So I am very satisfied. It's almost a surprise to see how quickly my form has returned."

She later tweeted: "If u had said to me 6 months ago u would have a silver medal at worlds with the girls I would have thought u were mental! So as much as we would have loved to have won I'm still feeling super proud."

On Wednesday, 29-year-old husband Jason teamed up with Jack Carlin and Ryan Owens to secure silver behind Dutch riders Nils van 't Hoenderdaal, Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland in the team sprint.

It was his first appearance since winning three golds at the 2016 Olympics in Rio which took his personal career haul to six.

Britain did have a gold to celebrate on Thursday, however, when their quartet of Ed Clancy, Kian Emadi, Ethan Hayter and Charlie Tanfield clinched victory ahead of Denmark in the men's team pursuit.

Italy picked up bronze after defeating Germany in the battle for third place in an event which was missing the often dominant Australian squad.

Colombia's Fabian Puerta defeated Japan's Tomoyuki Kawabata and Maximilian Levy of Germany to win the keirin title.

Defending champion Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia was eliminated in the first round while France's Francois Pervis, the 2014 and 2015 title winner, was also a first stage victim.

Puerta, 26, had been the runner-up at the championships in Hong Kong last year and at Cali in 2014.

"I had very good feelings at the start of the day," said Puerta, a regular winner on the World Cup circuit but only fifth at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"I had to go through the eye of the needle in the semi-final (when he was third) so I had nothing to lose in the final."

Belarus rider Yauheni Karaliok claimed gold in the men's scratch race, seeing off Italy's Michele Scartezzini and Callum Scotson of Australia.

The three men attacked at the halfway stage after a Scotson break and all finished a lap ahead of the peloton