By Martyn Herman
MANCHESTER (Reuters) - Laura Kenny's hopes of a multiple assault on medals at next week's UCI world track championships in Berlin have been scuppered by a broken shoulder which has ruled her out of Britain's team pursuit quartet.
The 27-year-old crashed at a World Cup event in Canada in January, fracturing her right scapula and suffering concussion.
Instead, she will ride in the multi-discipline omnium event in Berlin.
Kenny is also optimistic she can go for triple gold at this year's Tokyo Olympics, having won both the team pursuit and omnium at the London and Rio de Janeiro Games to become Britain's most successful female Olympian.
She is also eyeing the two-rider Madison event that will make its debut in the Olympics women's track programme in August, although team mates Elinor Barker and Neah Evans will get a chance to impress the selectors in Berlin.
Her absence from the team pursuit quartet in the German capital is a blow to Britain's hopes of improving on last year's dismal world championships in Poland, where Kenny was ill and Barker's win in the scratch race was their only gold.
"I can ride a bike, I can physically ride a bike, but I can't do a Madison change," said Kenny, referring to the changeovers in the event where a rider reaches out and physically slingshots their team mate forward.
"I can do a standing start but it's a very slow standing start which takes me out of team pursuit as well," Kenny told a small group of reporters at British Cycling's headquarters at Manchester's velodrome on Tuesday.
Kenny, who has seven world track titles, said she had opted against surgery and expects to be fully fit in eight weeks.
"I wanted the option to be selected for omnium at the worlds, and I've been selected for omnium," said Kenny, whose six-time Olympic gold medal-winning husband Jason will be leading Britain's sprinters in Berlin.
"If I had the operation I wouldn't have done. I would still be a long way off riding the track. It would be three weeks of recovery time from the operation. To be honest it's a lot less painful than I thought it would be."
Even for a rider of Kenny's pedigree the competition for rides on the powerhouse British team in Tokyo is ferocious, and the world championships will act as a barometer of form.
The Madison is especially competitive, with multiple riders likely to be battling for two spots in both the men's and women's event when it comes to Tokyo.
Ollie Wood, Ethan Hayter and Mark Stewart are in contention to race the men's event in Berlin. But Katie Archibald's hopes of doubling up in Madison and team pursuit at the Olympics are sliding, with the coaching staff opting for the power of Barker and Evans ahead of her tactical nous.
"If I was a coach I would find it interesting with what the four contenders bring," said Archibald, who won team pursuit gold in Rio alongside Kenny, Barker and Joanna Rowsell Shand.
"I've not been selected for the Madison at this world's, but I'm not the first athlete to believe they are better than they are. But I'm still believing I'm in contention for Tokyo."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Hugh Lawson)