Laura Kenny back up to speed after overcoming confidence crisis 

Four-time Olympic gold medallist is looking forward to Tokyo 2020 with husband Jason and son Albie after a "wake-up call"

Laura Kenny is right on track.

The four-time Olympic champion is using the UCI World Track Cycling Championships in Poland as an important stepping stone towards the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo.

But Great Britain's most successful female Olympian had to deal with a confidence crisis upon her return to major competition. After giving birth to her first child Albert in August 2017 she took time out from the sport.

"The standard moves on all the time and when I left the sport after Rio it continues to grow and move on," she admitted to Press Association Sport.

"It meant I basically had to re-learn the whole thing. When I returned at the World Cup in Canada I felt a little bit out of my comfort zone with everything happening at full speed ahead."

The road back

Rewind.

With 10 Olympic titles between them, Laura Kenny and Jason Kenny are the golden couple of track cycling.

After Rio 2016, their careers took a back seat.

Jason actually decided to retire having amassed six gold medals, and the pair were married the month after returning from Brazil.

In August 2017, Laura Kenny (formerly Trott) gave birth to their first child Albert.

She was up and about in no time, taking 'Albie' to the shops on the same day, but sitting on a bike was "the last thing" she wanted to do.

And while Jason chose to make a comeback soon after Albie's arrival, Laura's return to elite competition would prove more challenging.

Kenny was back in training in November 2017, and just four months later earned selection for the 2018 World Championships in Apeldoorn admitting she was "a bit shocked" by how fast her form had returned.

She helped Britain to the team pursuit final in the Netherlands where they lost out to the United States.

In August's European Championships in Glasgow, Kenny won gold in the team pursuit and elimination race.

Laura Kenny celebrates after winning the Elimination Race at the European Championships in Glasgow
Laura Kenny celebrates after winning the Elimination Race at the European Championships in GlasgowLaura Kenny celebrates after winning the Elimination Race at the European Championships in Glasgow

But she and Katie Archibald were only fourth in the madison, and the four-time Olympic gold medallist revealed that she had found it hard to return to her very best.

"I was pretty average in Glasgow and that was a learning curve and a wake-up call."

She returned to World Cup action in Milton, Canada in October and took victory in the team pursuit and the omnium, her two gold medal events from London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Gold Medal Helper

Kenny has a special mentor in her corner, London 2012 heptathlon gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill.

Ennis-Hill took time out after the London Games to have a baby, and returned to take silver at Rio 2016.

Speaking on ITV's Lorraine last September, Kenny said, "Having Jessica Ennis-Hill there has been unbelievable because she's done exactly what I want to do."

Jessica Ennis-Hill and Laura Kenny at the BT Sport Industry Awards in April 2017
Jessica Ennis-Hill and Laura Kenny at the BT Sport Industry Awards in April 2017Jessica Ennis-Hill and Laura Kenny at the BT Sport Industry Awards in April 2017

And she admitted being apart from young Albie has been somewhat emotional.

"I didn't realise how hard it was going to be leaving him behind. You do feel guilty. As a mum, as a dad, you feel that it's your job to solely look after them. And so it is difficult.

"We travel around the world, we're away racing, and there's a lot of time where you're not with them. And I have found it a lot harder than I thought I was going to."

Albie is now old enough to join his cycling parents on trips abroad, and he will be almost three when Tokyo 2020 comes around.

Kenny said, "Assuming I’m selected, he will be at the stage where he is starting to understand a little bit about what mummy is doing when she goes to work."

Already Britain's most decorated female Olympian, Kenny will be hoping to secure unique hat-tricks in the omnium and team pursuit.

Both disciplines were introduced for London 2012.

Meanwhile, Jason Kenny is level with former sprint team-mate Chris Hoy on six golds making the pair the most successful Olympic athletes in British history, as well as top of the list for cyclists at the Games.

With seven medals, the 30-year-old Lancastrian is one behind the tally of Britain's most decorated Olympian, Bradley Wiggins.

Jason Kenny celebrates with his then-fiancee Laura Trott after taking keirin gold at Rio 2016
Jason Kenny celebrates with his then-fiancee Laura Trott after taking keirin gold at Rio 2016Jason Kenny celebrates with his then-fiancee Laura Trott after taking keirin gold at Rio 2016

He takes a full role in looking after Albie with Mrs Kenny saying, "It's great that if I'm training, Jason's with him."

And she is delighted he reversed his decision to retire.

"I'm so glad that he came back because, for me, that's what I need. I can't actually imagine going to an Olympic Games without him being there."

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