Jason Kenny is deservedly among the pantheon of Britain’s sporting greats, with a memorable list of triumphs forever etched in his and the nation’s memories.
The Bolton racer became a household name with double gold at London 2012, following on from a team sprint title in Beijing four years earlier, and went on to become Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian alongside Chris Hoy.
Yet after returning from Rio 2016 with three further gold medals, Kenny’s need for speed waned and he lapsed into private retirement.
But the 29-year-old is back on the bike and secured silver on his international return in August, leading Britain onto the podium in the team pursuit at the European Championships.
Away from Europe and the Olympics, however, Kenny looks back to a competition early in his career for laying the foundations for his future success.
Kenny credits the TISSOT UCI Track World Cup for launching his medal-laden career – his first senior gold in British colours came at the 2006 edition of the Track World Cup in Moscow.
The Farnworth-born ace also retains fond memories from the 2008 Track World Cup, where he secured double gold in the individual and team sprint on his home patch in Manchester.
Kenny has learnt a lot in the past year – becoming a father for the first time in August 2017 – but still draws on his early experiences as an education in the art of track cycling.
“Going to Moscow was a real experience, it’s a very different place and I think it set me up really well,” said Kenny.
“I was lucky enough to be in a team with Craig MacLean and Matt Crampton and they were really supportive, and I think that set me up really well for my future in cycling.
“It was a good, positive experience straight out of the box for my first World Cup, so that’s always a good way to start.
“I crashed over the finish line in Manchester in a final sprint with Shane Perkins actually – we were both on our knee and got tangled up, but I won, so that was nice!
“When you’re both so knackered after a hard day and you’re still trying to go flat out, these things happen.”
Kenny has enjoyed success across the globe but holds a special place in his heart for London, as the TISSOT UCI Track World Cup returns to the Lee Valley VeloPark this December.
Only he knows what inspired his return to cycling but the possibility of riding again at the venue that made him famous, must have tugged at his heartstrings.
“London is obviously special with the Olympics there as the main one – that’s where I won the Worlds in the sprint as well,” said Kenny.
“We always have a good crowd here to be honest and it’s always good to race in front of the British crowd.
“That track is quite special in the heart of anyone who went to London 2012.”
See the stars of British cycling get #BackToTheTrack at the TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark from 14 – 16 December. For tickets and more information, visit www.trackworldcup.co.uk