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Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Victoria Pendleton defends sprint crown at Worlds

Track Cycling World Championships 2010
Venue: Ballerup Super Arena, Ballerup, Denmark Dates: 24-28 March
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, red button and BBC Sport website

Victoria Pendleton

Pendleton clinches fourth sprint title

By Chris Bevan
BBC Sport in Copenhagen

Britain's Victoria Pendleton was in imperious form as she collected her fourth successive sprint title at the Track Cycling World Championships.

The 29-year-old Olympic champion easily saw off Australia's Anna Meares in her semi-final in Copenhagen.

She suffered a nasty fall in the second race of the final but completed a 2-0 win over China's Shuang Guo at the Ballerup Super Arena.

It was her fifth gold medal in this event in the last six years.

Pendleton hurt her elbows in her crash but said it would not affect her hopes of securing another world title - the ninth of her career - in Sunday's keirin.

I haven't done any damage, it was a gentle crash - if you can have one of those

Victoria Pendleton

Britain narrowly missed out on another world title when Lizzie Armitstead picked up an impressive silver in the five-discipline omnium, held for the first time since its introduction to the Olympic programme.

But Pendleton's success was a welcome lift for British morale, which had been hit when Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton crashed out of the men's sprint in the quarter-finals.

"People have such high expectations of British cyclists that only the best, as in gold, ever feels good enough," Pendleton said afterwards.

"It's hard for us but I will enjoy this moment when I look back on it at the end of these championships."

She blamed her crash, which came at low speed during a cat-and-mouse first lap, on the fact the track at the Ballerup Super Arena is steeper than at the Manchester Velodrome where she does most of her training.

"I haven't done any damage, it was a gentle crash - if you can have one of those," Pendleton explained.

"It didn't faze me because it is difficult to do much damage when you are going at that sort of speed. I caught my elbow a little bit and that's it.

"In fact, when you crash you get a bit of an adrenaline rush because you obviously don't expect it, and it can help you get up and get stuck in."

Pendleton's emotions were in stark contrast to her tears following her win over Willy Kanis of the Netherlands in 2009, when she pushed herself to the limit by continuing training after winning the sprint title at the Beijing Olympics.

"I learned a lot throught that experience," she added. "I didn't want to put myself through it again because who would?

"I put myself through the pressure of that situation through choice so this year I trained really hard, tried to keep everything else to a minimum in my life and focused on the job in hand knowing that's what you have to do if you want be the best."

Lizzie Armitstead
Armitstead shone despite tailing off in the final event

Armitstead will also chase more glory on Sunday when she competes in the 25km points race.

Her battling performance in the omnium was a boost for Britain ahead of London 2012, although in the Olympics the event will be held over the course of the track programme rather than a single day, and incorporate a sixth 'elimination' discipline.

It is decided by adding together each rider's position from every event, with the lowest total winning.

The 21-year-old from Otley was sixth in the 200m time-trial with a time of 12.022 seconds and finished second in the 5km scratch race.

Armitstead clocked 2min 26.451sec to finish ninth in the 2km individual pursuit and then scored 17 to finish third in the 10km points race.

That left her as joint leader with Canada's Tara Whitten with a score of 20 going into the final event, the 500m time-trial.

But she could only finish ninth-fastest in 36.8929 secs, while Whitten took third to triumph overall.

Ed Clancy, who won a silver medal for Britain in the team pursuit on Friday, will try to emulate Armitstead on Sunday when he competes in the men's omnium, using the same disciplines but over longer distances.

Clancy will compete in a 200m sprint time-trial, 7.5km scratch race, 3km individual pursuit, a 15km points race and a 1km time-trial.



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see also
Hoy knocked out of world sprint
27 Mar 10 |  Cycling
GB men win silver in team pursuit
26 Mar 10 |  Cycling
Hoy claims 10th world track title
25 Mar 10 |  Cycling


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