PENDLETON SECURES SPRINT GOLD
Yet another gold medal went Great Britain’s way on Saturday as Victoria Pendleton successfully outgunned China’s Shuang Guo in the women’s sprint final to take her second world title of these championships.
Gold medallist in the same event in 2005 and silver in 2006, Pendleton’s victory in 2007 looked deceptively simple. In the final, the 24-year-old needed just two rounds to see off Guo and take Britain’s tally of gold medals to a record high of five.
The hardest part of the job, perhaps, had been done the day before when Pendleton defeated Belarussian favourite Natalia Tsylinskaya, and the Briton recognised she had gone into the finale “confident, but not taking anything for granted.”
“Once you’ve had the world title and lost it, it’s a big blow,” Pendleton recognised after. “You have to get it back. I knew after the Manchester World Cup I was in the form of my life, so that gave me a lot of confidence.”
Having won both the team sprint and the individual sprint, Pendleton is more than optimistic about her chances of taking the keirin tomorrow. “I’ll certainly try my hardest.” she promised.
Pendleton’s fellow gold medallist in the team sprint, Shanaze Reade, turned in a fine fifth place in the women’s 500 metre tt. The race was the first time Reade had ever raced over two laps of the track, "First one ever; ever," she said. "This is the first time I’ve ever gone over one lap. I set myself a little challenge and said I wanted to beat Willy Kanis because she’s BMX world champion. I beat Willy and I was still hanging on in there. To get top five at my first ever 500? I’m lost for words really."
Second off in a field of 21, Reade's time stood at the top of the scoreboard for an agonising 20 minutes. Hiding behind Jamie Staff's shoulder, she could barely watch as her time was finally beaten by Simona Kupreckaite of Lithuania. Only three others went on to beat Reade's time, including two world champions.
Anna Meares of Australia ran out winner, setting a new world record in the process, and, amazingly, taking the countries only gold medal of these championships so far.
The good news for the GB men’s team is that Craig MacLean is through to the semis of the sprint, the bad news is that he had to eliminate Ross Edgar to do so. MacLean bounced back from a round one defeat against Edgar to go through, but being drawn against his fellow-Scotsman made it a bitter-sweet success.
The only real down-note was Chris Newton’s failure to qualify for the points event. Newton simply “did not have the legs”, team sources said. The final was taken by Juan Llaneras of Spain. The late Isaac Galvez's former madison partner, Llaneras lapped the field mid-race for a hugely popular and emotional victory.