Four-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny admits that the Lee Valley VeloPark holds a special place in her heart, as she prepares to return to the venue for next weekend’s TISSOT UCI Track World Cup.
Kenny burst into the national consciousness when – aged just 20 – she secured her first two Olympic gold medals at London 2012. Since then, she’s added numerous world, European, Commonwealth and two further Olympic titles to cement her place as one of her sport’s brightest stars.
Now, she has qualification for a third Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020 – in her sights, and will be looking to secure qualifying points as she competes in London next weekend.
“This is the qualification period now for the Olympics, and as a women’s endurance squad we’re definitely heading in the right direction. For me personally, this year has gone really well. (After taking a break from cycling to have son, Albie) I guess I never expected to be back at really good form until the world championships in February, so to have won national titles, European titles and four world cups is really pleasing.”
Those world cup victories came in Milton and Berlin, where Kenny was twice part of Britain’s victorious team pursuit quartet and took omnium (Milton) and Madison (Berlin – with Emily Nelson) gold to once again prove her undoubted versatility.
Kenny and her team-mates will now be looking to build on a strong series so far on home soil in London, and the 26-year-old is relishing a return to a venue in which she has been crowned Olympic and world champion in the past.
“I absolutely love the Lee Valley VeloPark,” she continues. “I was an ambassador there for a couple of years and I just love it. It gives me this sense, this buzz – it’s even got its own smell, a completely different smell to any other velodrome.
“You know that the crowds are going to be there and that the atmosphere is going to be amazing. It excites me, and I really do look forward to going there. Everyone is focused on doing well – while it’s great to perform in front of a home crowd, it’s even better to do well in front of a home crowd.”
A limited number of tickets are still available for some sessions of the TISSOT UCI Track World Cup, and can be purchased here.