Track queen Victoria's world double

PUBLISHED: 11:43 04 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:24 26 October 2009

Victoria Pendleton. Photo by Stephen McMahon

Victoria Pendleton. Photo by Stephen McMahon

TRACK queen Victoria Pendleton was a double winner at the UCI Cycling World Championships in Manchester. And Pendleton, very much the glamour girl of British cycling, only just missed out on a third world crown in the women s keirin on the final day of th

TRACK queen Victoria Pendleton was a double winner at the UCI Cycling World Championships in Manchester.

And Pendleton, very much the glamour girl of British cycling, only just missed out on a third world crown in the women's keirin on the final day of the championships on Sunday.

Speaking after her formidable success in the women's sprint on Saturday, the 27-year-old cyclist from Stotfold said: "I felt my form is the best it's ever been in my entire life.

"Last year I hit a new high and I thought it would be a once in a lifetime experience, but I just seem to be even stronger this time.

"I have been fortunate in the past and not suffered many injuries and everything has been straightforward, so I had new challenges this year dealing with that - it's so hard when you can't train and you think you are losing it."

American Jennie Reed powered her way down the final straight to deny track queen Pendleton her third gold medal of the week in the keirin.

Germany's Christine Muche finished just behind Pendleton to take the bronze, and it actually took a photo to confirm her silver medal.

Pendleton and Reed had looked good from the first round when they won their separate heats.

Olympic medal hopeful Pendleton then cruised her way into the final by winning her round two heat.

The final was an explosive affair, with Pendleton finding the front with two laps to go in a brave effort to hold off the charging challengers.

But Reed just eclipsed the British girl to take the gold.

Pendleton, who recently posed naked on a bike for a magazine shoot, had won her second gold of the championships on Saturday.

The British sprinter only needed two rides against Lithuania's Simona Krupeckaite to win her sixth world champion's rainbow jersey.

Krupeckaite had beaten last year's silver medallist, China's Shuang Guo, in the semi-final to go head-to-head with the golden girl of British cycling.

Pendleton's rides had the packed Manchester Velodrome on their feet as she found great speed in the home straight in both rides and she crossed the line through a wall of noise.

She said afterwards: "It has been a difficult build up because I didn't really know how fast I was going and I felt quite a lot of pressure from people and the media and I was trying to shut myself away a bit."

And on her rival in the final, Pendleton explained: "I have raced against her before and when I raced her in Moscow she beat me.

"She has knocked me out of competitions and is a very strong rider but quite variable in form.

"She was definitely not to be underestimated."

Dad Max was trackside to see her race and Pendleton added: "It's the first time my dad has watched me at the World Championships and I am glad he was able to step over into the stand and I could give him a hug.

"That means a lot to me."

Foo Fighters fan Pendleton won her first gold on day two last Thursday when she partnered BMX champion Shanaze Reade to glory in the two-lap team sprint event.

The British duo won in 33.661 seconds against China in the final.

Pendleton, who went to Fearnhill School in Letchworth and was a regular on the grass-track racing scene in Herts during her younger days, had a disappointing time at the Athens Olympics four years ago.

She will now go to the Beijing Games this year as one of the favourites in the sprint discipline.

Her world success makes her one of Britain's great hopes for Olympic gold.


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