By Martyn Herman
BERLIN (Reuters) – Britain’s twice Olympic omnium champion Laura Kenny suffered a fresh injury scare as she crashed heavily in the first round of the event at the world championships on Friday.
Kenny, racing just weeks after breaking her shoulder at a World Cup event in Canada, went down hard just before the start of the 30th and final lap of the opening scratch race.
Four other riders also crashed in the incident that judges said was caused by Dutch reigning champion Kirsten Wild.
The good news for the 27-year-old Kenny was that she did no further damage to her right shoulder and was able to carry on, with four stitches in a head wound, finishing 12th.
“I should probably stop headbutting the floor shouldn’t I?” Kenny, Britain’s most successful female Olympian with four golds from the last two Games, said. “It’s been one of those months.”
Once British team officials checked Kenny over for concussion she showed that she is made of stern stuff by carrying on even with her medal chances shot.
Kenny could not have been criticized for calling it a day but she was back on her bike shortly afterwards, taking a creditable eighth in the tempo race.
Later she made little impression in the elimination race, usually her strength, but showed her class to finish strongly with third place in the points race.
The title went to Japan’s Yumi Kajihara who proved she will be a real threat to Kenny’s hopes of a hat-trick of omnium golds at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
It was not a wasted journey for Kenny who earned a silver medal for a fleeting appearance in the women’s team pursuit on Thursday, despite initially having ruled herself out of the discipline in which she also has two Olympic golds.
Kenny later played down suggestions she should have quit the omnium after the crash.
“Instantly I knew it wasn’t bad,” she said. “In Canada, straight away it took my breath away because it hurt so much.
“It’s fine. I haven’t made (the shoulder) worse. I’ve strained the muscle at the front which means I can’t lift my arm above my head again. But it’s only muscles.
“My face obviously hurts a bit. But even after the medal had gone I still wanted to race. I made some stupid mistakes.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)