Pendleton dethroned; Hoy misses out at Worlds
Sat, 26 Mar 15:12:00 2011
Britain's Victoria Pendleton has lost her sprint crown at the Track Cycling World Championships for the first time since she initially won it in 2007.
The Olympic champion was beaten in the semi-final in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, by Australia's Anna Meares, who went on to win the gold medal race against Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania on a superb day for Australian cycling.
Pendleton, winner of the title in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, had to settle for bronze after beating Olga Panarina of Belarus in the third-place race.
Meares had pulled out of the 500m time trial - her best event - in order to be at the top of her game against Pendleton, and she got off to a superb start as she blasted ahead of the British star in the first race.
Pendleton hit back, however, taking advantage of a momentary lapse by Mears to grab the momentum and force a decider.
But the Aussie would not be denied, leading the sprint and just managing to hold off her opponent to end Pendleton's four-year unbeaten World Championship run in the sprint.
Pendleton's bronze was her worst result in the World Championships sprint since 2004.
"It hasn't been plain sailing but I'm quite pleased with the result all the same," she said. "I'm working to a two-year programme and you've got to keep a perspective on this."
There was more disappointment for Britain - and more joy for Australia - as Shane Perkins edged Chris Hoy to take gold in the men's Keirin.
But Hoy will be left cursing his luck despite collecting his 23rd World Championship medal after apparently getting bumped at a key moment in the closing stages of the race. It is the first time since 2003 that Hoy will leave the World Championships without a gold medal.
"For a split second on the last bend, under the scoreboard, I thought I could win and I put everything I had in it but I ended up falling a wee bit short," the Scot said.
"But even if I'd won three golds I'm always very self-critical and I'd still have gone away looking for ways to improve. What I'll do is leave no stone unturned to make sure I'm 100 per cent for the 2012 London Olympics," added the triple champion from the 2008 Beijing Games.
Hoy's team-mate Matthew Crampton was also left kicking himself after being edged out for bronze by Dutch rider Teun Mulder.
There was yet more joy for Australia as Michael Freiberg then won the six-event omnium, beating Shane Archbold of New Zealand and Belgium's Gijs Van Hoecke.
"Six months ago I could never have imagined myself being here, I wasn't even expecting to ride the omnium," Freiberg said.
"But the chance was there and I took it.
"I didn't do so well in the individual pursuit so I knew I had to pull out something special in the scratch race and that's what made the difference."
Host nation the Netherlands won their first gold of the championships when Marianne Vos won the women's 10km scratch ahead of Australia's Catherina Bates.
Britain's Dani King took the bronze, her second medal in her maiden appearance at the World Championships following her team gold in the team pursuit earlier in the week.
Track cycling World Championships