MELBOURNE, Australia - Frenchman Gregory Bauge reclaimed the coveted sprint crown in imperious fashion at the world track cycling championships Saturday with a controversial defeat of Great Britain’s Jason Kenny.
Kenny finished second, after being relegated from the second match for infringing the rules, to take the silver with fellow Briton Sir Chris Hoy winning the bronze.
Bauge, who won his third consecutive title in 2011 only to see it handed to Kenny because he missed three random doping controls, scored a comfortable victory over the Englishman in their first match.
But in the second the Frenchman was stunned when Kenny attacked from the start of the three-lap race to take a significant lead which Bauge did well to chase down before he pulled up just before the finish.
As the pair came round the final bend Kenny appeared to come out of his sprint line, forcing Bauge to move quickly to avoid contact.
Race officials quickly reviewed images and, after a few minutes’ deliberation, decided to relegate Kenny thus handing the gold to Bauge.
Bauge kept his celebrations to a minimum despite it being his third world title.
“As I’ve always said, the big objective this season is the Olympic Games in London,” he said.
“I’m happy, obviously, but it’s a bittersweet victory because I felt I could have won the second match.
“I started getting cramp around one and a half laps from the finish and when that happens it leaves you at fifty percent capacity.
“The world championships are every year, it’s not my first title and in a few months time there’s the biggest rendezvous at the Games.”
Kenny this season has been battling Hoy for the sole qualifying spot for the Games and scored points in that battle by just getting to the final after beating the Scotsman in the semis.
The Englishman said he had no argument with the judges’ decision.
“It was just the way it is. The rules are the rules and you can clearly see on the video that I came out the red. You can’t really argue with that,” said Kenny.
“We decided to put it all on the line there at the start (of the second match). We know he (Bauge) can sometimes be a little bit asleep in that first quarter, so we just thought we’d take advantage of that and give it a go.
“It went perfectly to plan, other than getting relegated at the end.”
Bauge indicated that Kenny’s tactics had been those of a desperate man.
“Each time I race I’m watching out for tactics like that,” said the Frenchman.
“I think there might now be few riders trying the same. When you don’t have any other means I suppose you give it everything you’ve got, and sometimes it works.
“He nearly got me, but I’m a pretty good starter. And, I probably would have caught him if I hadn’t suffered cramp.”