An Olympic silver medallist in Beijing – where he was beaten by Scotland's Chris Hoy – Kenny was given little hope against the formidable physique of the Frenchman inside the velodrome. Bauge was assumed to be unbeatable but the Bolton rider soon got his wheels moving towards victory and coasted to Olympic glory.
It had been billed as a titanic contest between the pair – Bauge had never lost to the Englishman previously – but the sprint turned into a procession. In the first race, neither rider seemed willing to make the first move until the Frenchman turned on the afterburners and although he opened up a gap, Kenny overhauled him on the outside.
Then it was Kenny's turn to hit the front, but once he did, even Bauge's celebrated explosive acceleration could not haul him back in. Kenny had been selected for the event ahead of Hoy, who would have been defending his Olympic title had a rule change not meant only one rider could be selected for the event per country.
Although Kenny more than justified Dave Brailsford's selection last night, he admitted there was extra pressure in replacing an Olympic legend. "It's not something I'd thought about until I went out for the last ride. Then it dawned on me that if Chris was here there's no way he would lose this one," said Kenny.
"If you look back on history, when it comes down to that kind of race, nine out of 10 times he steps up. He has that killer instinct to finish off a race. It was just a case of getting up there and justifying my place, so I'm really pleased with the outcome. It was a shame we could not both be going out there.
"It is different to winning on your own. I really, really enjoyed winning the team sprint, but I didn't get to savour the moment this time because I got so sick after the final. While the boys were doing the victory lap I was just sitting down trying to keep my lunch down."
Kenny's triumph means that Team GB have now won five of the seven events inside the velodrome. Hoy would make it six should he win the keirin today but his 24-year-old team-mate is now being considered a worthy challenger to the Scot's Olympic legacy.
Yet Kenny seems uncomfortable with such haughty assertions. "I really enjoy what I do now. I don't do it for fame or money, which is just as well because I don't have any," he said.
"Four years is a long time, so I am just enjoying this one. Mathematically I could overtake him, as I am 24 and he is 36, but it is just a case of me enjoying this moment and having a bit of a break before I start again."
While the likes of Hoy and Bauge tower over Kenny physically, on a bike it is a different story. Indeed Bauge was so perplexed by his defeat to a man half his size that he took to questioning Kenny in the post-race press conference regarding his Olympic preparations. It was a very different story in the preceding three years when Kenny could not get close to the Frenchman. "We went away and tried to close the gap on that raw power," said Kenny.
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