LONDON (Reuters) - The Olympic men's individual track cycling sprint event turned into a farce on Saturday when Briton Jason Kenny was left with no opponent for his 1/16 final match.
Kenny clocked the fastest time in the qualifying 200-meter flying lap used to seed the riders but, with 17 competitors at the start, the 2011 world champion had no opponent.
He was given a bye - of sorts.
Kenny actually took the start of his 1/16 final match against Mr Nobody with a training helmet, completed half a lap and saluted the crowd with a rather embarrassed look on his face.
Second in the qualifying flying lap was Gregory Bauge, who did not even get on the bike after his Greek opponent failed to show up.
Earlier, Kenny had laid down a marker, averaging more than 74 kph to set an Olympic record of 9.713 seconds in the flying lap.
Triple world champion Bauge was second fastest, ahead of Australian Shane Perkins and German Robert Foerstemann, third and fourth respectively.
Spain's Hodei Mazquiaran Uria's saddle disintegrated in his qualifying lap but he escaped unscathed and was granted a re-run.
Seventeen riders take part in the individual sprint competition after a new International Cycling Union (UCI) rule limiting each nation to one rider per event.
It meant that on Saturday, only five of the top 10 riders from the world championships started the individual sprint event and that Beijing champion Chris Hoy of Britain cannot defend his title after being omitted in favor of Kenny.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Fallon)