Laura Kenny has revealed that pulling out of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships was a “really heartbreaking” decision because of her dedication to the sport.
The 26-year-old secured silver in the women’s team pursuit in Pruszkow, Poland at the end of February, but a sudden illness forced her to withdraw from the omnium – an event she has won at the last two Olympic Games.
Kenny, who was replaced in the event by Katie Archibald, is pragmatic about how her withdrawal will impact her as she builds towards next year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
“I’ve never had to pull out of an event before and to have to pull out of a World Championships was really heartbreaking,” she said. “To have to pull out of the one event that you’re really focusing on in the year was hard for me to take.
“I think it was the right decision in terms of we are qualifying for the Olympics now and I could have come 16th and not scored any points, so it was worth Katie riding instead of me because there was just no point in me taking away those Olympic qualification points.”
Kenny explained her condition had few symptoms but that a week’s rest helped her to fully recover.
“The only warning sign I had that I might be getting ill was I had a bit of lower back pain the night before, but that was literally it,” she explained.
“As athletes, you’re going to get ill, you’re going to get injured, it’s one of those things that you just have to move on from. It will just be one of those things where it’s in the past and that’s where it will have to stay.
“I get ill and have colds and stuff throughout the year, but I hope it doesn’t happen again (at the Olympics).”