Track Cycling World Championships: Laura Kenny on being told Tokyo Olympics was ‘off the cards’

Four-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny reveals she was told Tokyo 2020 was “off the cards” after breaking her shoulder but turned down an operation in her bid to compete at the Games.

Watch live coverage of the Track Cycling World Championships on BBC Red Button, iPlayer and online from Wednesday 26 February.

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‘An operation’s not for me, thanks’

Britain's Laura Kenny (far right) crashes during the tempo race in the women's omnium at the Track World Cup in Milton, Canada

Laura Kenny was leading the omnium at the Track World Cup before crashing in the tempo race

Four-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny chose not to have an operation on a broken shoulder so she can continue her Tokyo 2020 preparations at next week’s Track World Championships.

The Briton, 27, crashed in the tempo race in the omnium at the Track World Cup in Milton, Canada on 26 January.

She said a surgeon told her this year’s Olympics were “pretty much off the cards” because she needed an operation.

“I told him, ‘An operation’s not for me, thanks’,” she told BBC Sport.

“Did I want an operation to get it fixed, but with a two-week delay in me getting back on the bike, or did I want to just see how it goes?

“I decided to see how it goes and the next day I got back on my bike.”

Kenny, who has won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the women’s team pursuit and omnium, will only race in the omnium and the scratch race at the World Championships in Berlin starting on 26 February.

But she said she still wants to defend her omnium and team pursuit titles in Tokyo, as well as targeting the madison, which returns to the Olympic programme this year.

“I wanted to put my hand up for all three events in Berlin but I can’t physically do the madison and I can’t do a standing start in the team pursuit,” she said.

“That’s slightly frustrating but I never thought I wouldn’t go to the Worlds and I know a lot of people within British Cycling thought I’d lost the plot.

“If I have the form that I had a month ago, I’d like to think I could still get selected for all three events come Tokyo.”

‘I do it for Albie now’

Kenny returned to competition in February 2018, six months after giving birth to son Albie.

She went on her first training camp without him this year, with husband Jason, a six-time Olympic champion, looking after Albie at home.

“The first two years he came along as I pretty much persuaded Jason to come to everything I went to because I wanted Albie there,” she said.

“I haven’t sacrificed all this time with him for no reason, and a part of me was thinking that when I crashed, I haven’t put in all this hard work and had all this time away for no reason, so there was no way I was not going to the Worlds.

“I do it for Albie now. I want him and everyone to be able to see that these little hiccups happen but why should they get in the way?

“I know it’s a broken bone, I’m not stupid, but if I can ride I will ride.”

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Cavendish ‘not guaranteed’ Tour de France spot

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish claimed the last of his 30 wins at the Tour de France on Stage 14 in 2016

Mark Cavendish is not certain of a place in the 2020 Tour de France with his new team Bahrain McLaren, says their general manager Rod Ellingworth.

Cavendish, 34, was not picked for the 2019 race by previous team Dimension Data, but wants to add to his 30 stage wins to catch Eddy Merckx’s record 34.

“Nobody is guaranteed for the Tour – he knows it’ll be a hard challenge,” said Ellingworth.

But he added: “If he’s winning at World Tour level, why wouldn’t we take him?”

Ellingworth continued: “It’s a certain type of Tour this year, and I’m not shying away from saying that it’s an excellent Tour de France for [new signing] Mikel Landa.

“For Mark, if he’s winning and performing well, why would we not think about going on that journey and trying to be the greatest stage winner in Tour de France history?”

Cavendish, who has not been included in the Great Britain squad for the Track Cycling World Championships, was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus in 2017 and has struggled for fitness since then.

But Ellingworth says he is happy with the Manxman’s fitness and Cavendish, who took part in the third-tier Saudi Tour last week, will compete in his first World Tour race of the year in the UAE Tour, which begins on 23 February.

“In terms of his health, we’ve now ticked that box,” Ellingworth added. “He had really struggled on and off. That’s what that virus does, it limits you, you can’t go deep, you can’t back up day after day.

“But he’s been training well for four months so that’s good. Then you have the race condition, which has not been there for a while, but we’ve ticked that box now.”

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Kai Sakakibara: Australian Olympic BMX rider in coma after suffering ‘severe’ head injury

Kai Sakakibara

Kai Sakakibara is currently ranked 10th in the world

Australian Olympic BMX hopeful Kai Sakakibara is in a medically-induced coma after sustaining a “severe head injury” at a World Cup event.

The 23-year-old fell during his opening round heat in Bathurst, New South Wales, on Saturday.

He was sedated at the scene before being airlifted to Canberra Hospital, where he has had surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.

In a statement, his family said he was in a “critical but stable” condition.

“We understand the road ahead will be a long and difficult one, we are staying positive and taking things day by day,” they said.

“There isn’t much we can do at this point but Kai needs your support and your positive energy sent his way. Please keep thinking of Kai and stay with us on his journey for the months ahead.

“For now, we are waiting to see how things progress and our focus is on his long-term rehabilitation. Kai’s BMX career will be put on hold for now.”

Sakakibara is currently ranked 10th in the world and finished ninth at last year’s World Championships.

His younger sister, Saya, is also a BMX rider on the Australian team with a world ranking of fifth.

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RideLondon organisers apologise after data breach

London-Surrey 100 race 2019

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Getty Images

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The 100-mile ride through Surrey and London attracts thousands of amateur cyclists every year

Organisers of the RideLondon cycling event are “urgently looking into” a data breach involving potential participants’ personal details.

Organisers believe “less than” 2,100 people have been affected by the issue which saw entrants receive other people’s ballot results.

The events, due to be held in August, is open to 80,000 applications and last year 28,032 riders completed it.

London Surrey Cycling Partnership has apologised for the error.

RideLondon, which claims to be the world’s greatest festival of cycling, is a 100-mile, closed-road event which takes in streets in the capital and travels through Surrey.

Due to take place on 16 August, it is normally oversubscribed so a ballot system is used select the successful applicants.

The mix-up over data means some potential riders are still unclear if they have won a place or not.

Apologise sincerely

London Surrey Cycling Partnership chief executive Nick Bitel said the company was “working to establish how many people have been affected”, but it believed “it to be less than 3% of the total of more than 70,000 people who entered the ballot”.

“We are working with our contractors to establish the full facts but it appears that the issue was caused by an error in the collation of the acceptance letter and the addressed envelope in the final stages of a mailing process which led to the people affected receiving the name, address and date of birth of one other person,” he added.

“We apologise sincerely for this error and will be contacting all the people affected.”

Chris Whitehead, from Rotherham, received what he thought would be his ballot result in the post on Monday.

But while the envelope was addressed to him, the letter itself contained someone else’s full name, address and date of birth.

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Chris Whitehead

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Chris Whitehead received someone else’s ballot result including name, address and date of birth in the post on Monday

“I was shocked,” he told BBC News. “I felt shocked that in this day and age, a breach like that would happen and was left wondering who has my details.

“There is a chance my identity could be stolen. Why haven’t they done any basic checking?”

The 36-year-old IT specialist added he was disappointed the organisers did not communicate the data breach more proactively.

“I first contacted them at 11:00 GMT and it took them until about 18:00 to post an update about it on Twitter.”

Prudential RideLondon tweeted its apology for the “issue with a limited number of the Prudential RideLondon ballot results mailing” at 17:40 on Monday.

Image Copyright @RideLondon

Twitter post by @RideLondon: We are looking into an issue with Prudential RideLondon ballot results mailing urgently and will update everyone affected as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding.#RideLondon
Image Copyright @RideLondon

All applicants will be informed of their ballot results by Thursday, according to the event helpline, meaning more people might yet receive erroneous letter over the next two days.

Mr Bitel said the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Britain’s data protection watchdog, was “being informed with full details of what happened”.

The ICO said it had not yet received a data breach report from London Surrey Cycling Partnership.

Under current data protection regulations, organisations do not have to report every data breach to the watchdog.

“Under the current UK data protection law, most personal data breach reporting is best practice but not compulsory,” the ICO’s website states.

Referrals must be made, however, if there is a “risk to people’s rights and freedoms from the breach”.

A spokeswoman for the ICO said this was judged in an internal audit by the organisation on a case-by-case basis.

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