Day one, all the action and breaking news in Birmingham


fMy first day in Birmingham 2022 and I’m in… London. Obviously, since Birmingham doesn’t have an indoor velodrome (a sore point that a small but dedicated group of activists has been trying to fix for almost five years), track cycling takes place at the Olympic velodrome in Stratford.

What it means is that 10 years after watching Laura Kenny (as she was Trott back then) win gold in the women’s team pursuit here in London in 2012, I’ll be back today as she competed in a English race for Commonwealth gold goes quartet.

Kenny, who made a name for herself at those games, is of course Britain’s most successful Olympian today. She’s also by far the biggest name here, especially as British team-mates and Olympic champions Katie Archibald (injury) and Elinor Barker (race on the road after giving birth in the spring) are absent for Scotland and Wales respectively. Also since her husband Jason Kenny, the six-time Olympic champion, retired and is now part of the British cycling coaching staff.

How things will continue today is difficult to say. When we spoke earlier this week, Kenny said she had no idea. It’s not often that the UK squad is split into teams from their home countries. Kenny said she just wanted to savor the opportunity to put up with a terrible winter in which she suffered a miscarriage followed by an ectopic pregnancy.

“It put a lot of things in perspective,” she said. “I was in really pretty bad shape and just seeing Jason the way he was around made me realize I was putting so much stress on my family. Obviously I didn’t mean to do that, but I think it made us realize that cycling is one thing, but life is another.

“It brought us back to earth with a tremendous bang, but it made you think, ‘Why am I doing this?’

“I enjoy it, and that’s why I do it, and it made that clearer to me than ever.”

Kenny, who will also be competing in the scratch and points race this weekend, added: “I just feel so relaxed about the whole situation. I don’t know if that’s because I never really thought the Commonwealth Games would be a goal as we were planning on having another little one by now, but I feel more relaxed than ever. It almost brings more joy. I’m so excited just to be able to perform in front of a home crowd again because you don’t get it that often, especially in London.”


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