THREE-TIME Olympic champion Jason Kenny is targeting improved showings at the Track Cycling World Championships, beginning in Minsk this week in the first global event since the London 2012 Olympics.
The 24-year-old from Bolton has just one world title to his name and that was by default, when Gregory Bauge was stripped of the 2011 men’s sprint title for an anti-doping violation.
Kenny wore the world champion’s rainbow jersey once, at the 2012 London Track World Cup, after a lowkey presentation in the bowels of the Olympic Velodrome where six months later he won sprint and team sprint gold.
‘‘That was a bit of a rubbish way to win the worlds in 2011,’’ Kenny said. ‘‘If I was to win it again in the future I’d want to win it properly on the day.
‘‘I’ll be doing everything I can to put myself in the best place possible. I really want to win.’’ Kenny will bid to claim the sprint title on the bike on Sunday’s final day of competition, with his focus first on Thursday’s team sprint and Friday’s Keirin.
With Sir Chris Hoy missing the championships as he deliberates over his future and Ed Clancy back in the team pursuit squad following a flirtation with the shorter distance, Kenny is the senior figure in the team sprint squad.
He is to be joined in the three-man, three-lap team sprint event by fellow Olympic champion Philip Hindes and Kian Emadi or Matt Crampton. Emadi, 20, is favourite to get the nod.
Kenny said: ‘‘It’s impossible to ignore that Kian is going quicker than anyone at the minute.
‘‘He has obviously been working really hard while we have been at the Olympics, he’s been working away quietly and he’s getting the rewards for that now. It’s very possible he could be in the starting line-up.
‘‘Then it depends on what Phil and I do in front of him.
If we do get it together and do what we are capable of we could end up going fairly fast and being quite competitive and hopefully pushing for the win.
‘‘We’re certainly going to be there or thereabouts. Hopefully we’ll be able to get on the top step, as opposed to battling for minor places. It’s not going to be easy, by any means.‘‘ Britain last won the team sprint world title in March 2008 ahead of the Beijing Games, where they surprisingly triumphed in the discipline.
Their defence of the Olympic title in London came as even more of a shock, given previous form, and featured a controversial fall by Hindes and saw Hoy claim a fifth Olympic gold.
Britain’s history in the event means Emadi has big shoes to fill, in the shape of Hoy, who is expected to imminently announce whether or not he intends to ride on to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, or retire.
Emadi could be Hoy’s longterm successor and is relishing his opportunity.
He said: ‘‘Obviously it’s exciting to be selected and a big honour to go, but at the end of the day it is another bike race.
‘‘If you can apply the same sort of steps that you do in training and your usual racing then everything should sort of turn out all right.
‘‘Chris has stepped down for a bit so they are looking for a replacement for the team for man three.
‘‘That’s the position they are looking to fill, obviously it is big shoes to fill and Jason and Phil are the best in the world in their positions on their day so it’s going to be exciting but you just have to go for it and see what happens.’’