Kenny double act paves way for fierce Six Day Manchester finale
24 March 2019
Home favourite Laura Kenny produced a rousing second day on the boards to leave the women’s classification evenly poised heading into the final day of Six Day Manchester.
Third after Friday’s opener, four-time Olympic champion Kenny powered to victory in the team elimination alongside Emily Nelson to claw back valuable points and put pressure on GB teammate Katie Archibald ahead of what is sure to be a climactic conclusion to the inaugural event.
The statement win leaves the 26-year-old just four points off the top spot currently occupied by Archibald, who had initially appeared likely to extend her first-day lead after a red-hot start.
After admitting to being slightly under-par for Friday’s curtain raiser, Kenny’s display was made all the more impressive for the fact she had never raced in the team elimination before.
“It was the first one I’ve done so this morning I was asking Emily what the hell you do and it’s just carnage,” she said.
Kenny’s goal of topping the podium on home soil, however, faces a substantial obstacle in the form of the electric Archibald, with the Scot at times appearing head and shoulders above the competition.
A rip-roaring performance from the Lyne-born rider in the 20km Madison with partner Neah Evans was one of the highlights of Super Saturday at Six Day Manchester- and Kenny believes Archibald has sent a timely reminder of her enduring quality following a low key World Championships in Poland.
“I guess after the worlds she (Archibald) felt that she had a point to prove and she’s a phenomenal bike rider regardless of what went on at the World Championships,” Kenny said.
“That might not have been the result that she wanted but you can see what she’s like here, you can see the ability.”
It was double delight for the Kenny family as Jason maintained his position at the summit of the sprint standings thanks to in large part to success in the 200m time trial.
The 31-year-old also recorded the fastest sprint lap of Six Day Manchester as he delighted a vocal home crowd.
“I’m dead happy with that,” Kenny said. “We have just come back from a break after the Worlds so we don’t really know where we’re at.
As is the case in the women’s field, though, competition is fierce in the sprint stakes as Six Day Manchester reaches the final part of its stellar trilogy.
Despite scorching through his heat in the record-breaking time, Kenny was eventually beaten in the sprint final by the effervescent Jack Carlin – and just one point separates the two going into the final day.
The home riders weren’t to have it all their own way, however.
In the men’s elite, Australian pair Leigh Howard and Jarrad Drizners put an end to the British dominance, producing two strong rides in the Madison Chase and winning the Team Elimination to defy fears of fatigue.
“It’s all on track so far, we struggled a bit last night to be honest,” Howard said.
“Jarrad just flew in from Australia and I just flew in that afternoon so we were not feeling the best yesterday but we got through in pretty good position considering.
“We’ve got something left in the tank for tomorrow night.”
Howard and Drizners will undoubtedly face a fight from Six Day stalwarts Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga in the velodrome on Sunday.
The flying Dutchmen have accumulated 33 more points than their Manchester title rivals thanks to Havik’s derny victory, Stroetinga’s superb points race win, and a team effort in the Madison – but remain a crucial lap behind in the standings.
With everything for grabs across the three classifications moving into the final day, the stage is very much set for a rousing crescendo.