Pendleton’s lasting legacy

IF VICTORIA Pendleton is unsure as to the legacy her cycling career has left, she need only draw her curtains on a Sunday morning for the answer.

Pendleton pedalled off into the sunset after adding individual silver to her keirin victory at the London 2012 Velodrome and while she could not wait to hang up her lycra for good, her legacy will certainly linger.

Good looks and pedal power have ensured Pendleton has inspired many an amateur cyclist since she won her first world title in 2005 — the pelotons that swarm the weekend roads in Britain testify to that.

Sales of traditional-looking Pendleton Bikes are also up 55 per cent and have rapidly increased month-on-month since they were launched in April.

But on the boards Pendleton has been longing to bring her career to an end and can finally do so, having doubled her Olympic gold medal tally in London and added a silver for good measure.

“I won’t ever don a skinsuit again. I’m going to continue cycling to keep fit and that is it,” said nine-time world champion Pendleton. “I’m going to be able to do normal stuff.

“Cycling fell in my lap, my dad was a cyclist, it was never really my ambition, it was a way of doing stuff with him.

“I thought I wasn’t going to make it to London 2012. When I arrived in the Olympic Village I thought, ‘wow, I can’t believe you actually made it this far’.

“So to come away with two medals, I am relieved. The opportunity to compete at a home Games, I didn’t want to be sat at home, watching a home Olympics.

“I didn’t want to live the rest of my life regretting something so rare and that would be worse torture than the last four years.”

She and Jess Varnish were guaranteed at least a silver medal in the team sprint until they were relegated for a minor infringement and while she bounced back with keirin gold, lightning struck twice in the Velodrome.

Pendleton won the first race of the best-of-three final with nemesis Anna Meares of Australia by the narrowest of margins but she was harshly relegated again.

She’d argue otherwise but her heart seemingly wasn’t in the second clash — the end of the road was too close and her focus was lost, but by that point, the colour of her third Olympic medal didn’t matter.

“I’m relieved it’s all over, I’m so relieved,” she said. “The last four years have been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

“I’m so pleased it’s over. I can go and do something different.”

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