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Kenny's key to gold? Pretend 'I'm racing myself'

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2016 Rio Olympics - Cycling Track - Final - Men's Sprint Final Gold Race - Rio Olympic Velodrome - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 14/08/2016. Jason Kenny (GBR) of Britain and Callum Skinner (GBR) of Britain compete. REUTERS/Paul Hanna 
2016 Rio Olympics - Cycling Track - Final - Men's Sprint Final Gold Race - Rio Olympic Velodrome - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 14/08/2016. Jason Kenny (GBR) of Britain and Callum Skinner (GBR) of Britain compete. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard 
2016 Rio Olympics - Cycling Track - Final - Men's Sprint Final Gold Race - Rio Olympic Velodrome - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 14/08/2016. Jason Kenny (GBR) of Britain celebrates. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard 
2016 Rio Olympics - Cycling Track - Victory Ceremony - Men's Sprint Victory Ceremony - Rio Olympic Velodrome - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 14/08/2016. Jason Kenny (GBR) of Britain celebrates winning the gold medal. REUTERS/Matthew Childs 
2016 Rio Olympics - Cycling Track - Final - Men's Team Sprint Final Gold Race - Rio Olympic Velodrome - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 11/08/2016. Jason Kenny (GBR) of Great Britain celebrates with fans. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard 
2016 Rio Olympics - Cycling Track - Preliminary - Team training - Rio Olympic Velodrome - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 09/08/2016. Jason Kenny (GBR) of United Kingdom during a practice session. REUTERS/Matthew Childs 
Britain Cycling - Team GB - Rio 2016 Cycling Team Media Session - Newport Velodrome, Wales - 25/7/16 Jason Kenny of Team GB in action Action Images via Reuters / Tony O'Brien Livepic
2016 Rio Olympics - Cycling Track - Final - Men's Team Sprint Final Gold Race - Rio Olympic Velodrome - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 11/08/2016. Jason Kenny (GBR) of Great Britain celebrates after winning the race and setting a new Olympic record. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard 
Britain Cycling - Team GB - Rio 2016 Cycling Team Media Session - Celtic Manor, Wales - 25/7/16 Jason Kenny of Team GB poses for a photo Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic
Britain Cycling - Team GB - Rio 2016 Cycling Team Media Session - Newport Velodrome, Wales - 25/7/16 Jason Kenny of Team GB in action Action Images via Reuters / Tony O'Brien Livepic
2016 Rio Olympics - Cycling Track - Final - Men's Team Sprint Final Gold Race - Rio Olympic Velodrome - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 11/08/2016. Jason Kenny (GBR) of Great Britain celebrates after winning the race and setting a new Olympic record. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard 
2016 Rio Olympics - Cycling Track - Victory Ceremony - Men's Sprint Victory Ceremony - Rio Olympic Velodrome - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 14/08/2016. Callum Skinner (GBR) of Britain with the silver medal and Jason Kenny (GBR) of Britain with the gold medal pose on podium. REUTERS/Matthew Childs 
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Callum Skinner's attempts to unsettle British team mate Jason Kenny with mindgames proved futile on Sunday as he was forced to settle for silver in the Olympic track cycling sprint final.

And they were always doomed really because defending Olympic champion Kenny, fast establishing himself as one of the all-time great British cyclists, said he prepared for the final by pretending he was racing against himself.

SEE MORE: Everything you need to know about the Summer Olympics

"I race as if I'm racing myself and if I couldn't have beaten myself then I didn't really do it right," the 28-year-old told reporters after a dominant victory over the man he has been sharing digs with at the Olympic village.

Skinner said the 24 hours prior to the final at the Rio velodrome had provided an opportunity for the Olympic debutant to try some lighthearted digs at his senior partner.

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"I kept telling him how strong I was and he kept telling me how good he felt," Skinner, who impressed when playing the anchor role for Kenny and Philip Hindes for team sprint gold, told reporters after the ceremony.

"But he kept telling me how strong he was. You can't help but laugh while you're saying it so it's all in good fun."

Kenny's seniority was evident on Sunday as he won relatively comfortably in both heats, taking his Olympic gold medal count level with Bradley Wiggins and one behind Chris Hoy.

"I wouldn't say it's harder being beaten by a team mate," Skinner said. "Jason 100 percent deserved that, he was better tactically and in the legs.

"I'm still looking for that first win over him."

At 23 Skinner has time on his side and is already being tipped as the man to lead the British team forward.

The Scot has established himself as the man to help fill the void left by six-times Olympic champion Chris Hoy who retired after London 2012.

"It's good for the team," Kenny said of having a serious sprint rival in the team.

"In the past we have been kind of hanging on and it's been grim to be in the team. We need each other.

"Now Callum has made that final step up and we have a really strong younger team coming through as well and we can be more consistently competitive at the world championships."

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