The search by Great Britain’s coaches for a rider to fill the significant void left by the retired Sir Chris Hoy has met with some frustration during 2013.
One year after the Scottish legend’s retirement, Jason Kenny’s world keirin title is the closest any Brit has come, but February seemed a long way off as Britain’s men’s sprint squad struggled at the opening round of the Track World Cup in Manchester.
On that occasion Kenny stormed into the keirin final, but could not deliver when it mattered most, finding himself stuck at the back of the bunch and ultimately out of the medals when the final sprint unfolded.
However, team-mate Matt Crampton gave some encouraging signs at the National Cycling Centre – joining the men’s sprint team for the bronze medal final to propel them onto the final podium step, before finishing fourth in the individual competition.
And the 27-year-old continued his fine form in Mexico, having already ridden in the team sprint final, where Britain lost to new world record holders Germany.
He returned on the final day, and succeeded where Kenny had suffered frustration in the previous round – winning keirin gold.
While admittedly France’s Francois Pervis and Germany’s Maximilian Levy were absent this time around, opting to focus on the kilo time trial instead, Crampton’s achievement should not be belittled.
It has been an often frustrating year for Great Britain’s men’s sprint squad but with Jason Kenny back in the medals in Mexico too – earning silver in the sprint to add to the team sprint silver – things are looking up again heading into 2014.