Laura Kenny: I couldn’t miss out on Six Day any longer
07 March 2019
In just two weeks’ time, Great Britain’s most successful female Olympian, Laura Kenny, will make her Six Day Series debut, competing at the HSBC National Cycling Centre in Manchester between 22-24 March.
The inaugural Phynova Six Day Manchester event is one that Kenny is looking forward to, having watched on as endurance teammates Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker stole the show in front of vocal home support in London.
“I’m really looking forward to Phynova Six Day Manchester because I’ve never done one before. When I was pregnant with Albie I was able to watch it on the telly – but I wanted to experience it for real,” she said.
“On TV you could see the lights and the music and what a good atmosphere it was – and I’ve just wanted to be a part of it ever since.
“When I was pregnant there wasn’t that many events that made me really miss cycling – with World Cups, you knew they came around every season but with Six Day, I felt like I missed out, so it’s perfect for me with it now being in Manchester.
“You’ve got the atmosphere which just gets the crowd involved and you don’t always have that at a World Cup event.
“I was always going to do this race – I’ve loved the thought of doing a Six Day and I want to take as many chances as I can to race before Tokyo.
“I missed 18 months of racing which is quite a long time, you get UCI points for the Six Day too so it would be stupid to miss an opportunity like that.”
Competing in front of a home crowd is no new challenge to Kenny, a double Olympic and double world champion when competing in familiar surroundings.
Though with the lights dimmed and the music high, there’s nothing that can prepare you for the theatre that is the Six Day Series.
With Manchester just a stone’s throw from home this is an experience that Kenny simply cannot wait for though as she prepares to face the world’s best track riders.
“I love a home crowd and I love the noise. I love the atmosphere when you’re at home and it’s just exciting – it’s not every day that you get to race on your home velodrome,” she added.
“You cherish the times when people are cheering you onto the velodrome, it’s a great opportunity to experience that and I really want to enjoy that with Six Day.
“I’m excited to see how Manchester does it, whenever we have World Cups on that track they really know how to do it and they always seem to be the best ones.
“Manchester has that special feel about it, it is the home of British Cycling which helps, and it will be really interesting to see how they run a Six Day because it is so different to a World Cup.”
Phynova Six Day Manchester may be just two weeks away but Kenny remains keen to find time to rest and prepare.
After all, in a season featuring national championships, World Cups and last week’s World Championships – which the 26-year-old was forced to withdraw from due to illness after taking silver in the Team Pursuit – plus an Olympics on the horizon, there’s little time for her to take her foot off the pedal since giving birth.
“I’d never pulled out of a championships before. Training had gone really well and I really wanted to do well in the omnium and compete against (eventual winner) Kirsten Wild.
“I was so gutted, it was so disappointing, but it was the right decision. All I can do now is rest, get back to training and just look ahead to Phynova Six Day Manchester as my next big challenge.”
Kenny will target team pursuit, omnium and Madison at the Tokyo 2020 Games but knows competition for places is fierce, with Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker eyeing multiple gold.
She has the chance to test herself against both of them in Manchester at the end of March when all three will contest the omnium along with Dutch world champion Wild.
“The line-up for Phynova Six Day Manchester is so competitive and just shows the profile of the event.
“I’m looking forward to the competition which includes a really strong British line up and the likes of Kirsten Wild also competing.
“That competition, combined with the atmosphere, makes it a really exciting event for riders and fans and I can’t wait to take part.”
Tickets for Phynova Six Day Manchester on 22-24 March are on sale now from £25, and students can take advantage of a £10 ticket offer on Friday 22 March. Buy tickets HERE.