Essex-born Laura Kenny becomes first British woman to win gold at three Olympics

Team GB's Laura Kenny has become the first British woman to win gold at three consecutive Olympic Games as she and teammate Katie Archibald claimed gold in the women's Madison.

The pair added to Team GB's Olympic medal haul in the first ever Olympic women's Madison cycling event.

“It’s unbelievable,” Kenny, who was born in Harlow in Essex, told the BBC of her achievement.

“I am just so glad. I have never wanted to win a race so badly in my life."

Great Britain's Katie Archibald (left) and Laura Kenny celebrate winning gold in the Women's Madison Final Credit: PA

Both riders, along with teammates Neah Evans and Josie Knight, had already won silver in the women's team pursuit on Tuesday.

Archibald said: “I’ve been dreaming about this. I’ve never wanted something so much and I’ve never been so nervous. But we’ve been clinical in our approach.

“I’d like to thank our coach Monica (Greenwood). None of this would have happened without Monica. She overhauled our approach to this event.”

The British pair looked in control from the off, winning the first three sprints on the track and then further extending their advantage after the Dutch pair of Kirsten Wild and Amy Pieters, reigning world champions, were caught in a crash with a little over 70 laps remaining.

In the second half of the race, the British duo got themselves in a series of breakaways, hoovering up points in the sprints and gaining a lap with a little over 20 to go to build an all-but-insurmountable lead.

By the end of the race, they had won 10 of the 12 sprints – including the double points for the last lap – to finish with 78 points, more than twice the tally of second-placed Denmark on 35.

Kenny and Archibald wasted little time asserting their dominance in the race as they beat the Dutch in the first three sprints, taking it in turns as Archibald won the first and Kenny the second.

Australia took the fourth sprint and would soon play spoiler in the race as they disrupted a Dutch hand-sling to send Wild crashing to the ground with a little over 70 laps to go.Though Wild got back to her bike, the Dutch challenge faded, with Archibald and Kenny peeling off the front, first with the French, then with the Danish and Russian Olympic Committee teams to keep collecting points.

It was a fifth career Olympic gold for Kenny - she won the top prize twice at London 2012 and twice at Rio 2016.Friday's victory also means Kenny has set a number of new records.

Firstly, Kenny has become the first British woman to win gold at three consecutive Games.

She has also surpassed Dutchwoman Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel to become the most successful female cyclist in Olympic history.

Finally, she has joined equestrian Charlotte Dujardin as Britain's most decorated female Olympian of all time.

Prior to the Madison event, Kenny was already Britain's most successful female Olympian.For her, it all started in Hertfordshire, at Welwyn Wheelers cycle racing club that she initially joined to get fit.

Head coach, Francis Gallacher said: