CYCLING golden girl Victoria Pendleton overcame a dramatic day at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Melbourne, Australia to claim her sixth sprint world title.
The former Mildenhall Cycling Club member suffered a painful crash in her first best-of-three semi-final heat against Australian Anna Meares but struck back to be awarded the second heat after officials relegated Meares for straying outside her racing line before going on to win the deciding heat, in a photo finish.
This set up a final showdown against Lithuania’s Simona Krupeckaite and after winning the first heat, Krupeckaite seemed to have levelled in the second race before she, too, was relegated in identical circumstances to Meares, thus handing Pendleton gold.
Speaking to the BBC, an emotional Pendleton reflected on her victory.
“That’s not necessarily the way I’d like to win, in an ideal scenario, with relegations and stuff. It always feels a bit weird and not very true to the sport, but those are the rules,” she said.
“I’m delighted with the result. I didn’t think it was going to happen coming into today. It’s great to end on a high.”
“I thought this was going to be a stepping-stone and I hoped I might do a better performance than I did at the London World Cup. I feel I did that and I’m more than pleased.”
Elsewhere, The men’s sprint team, with the omission of Ousden based rider and Olympic Silver medallist Ross Edgar, struggled in Melborune, suffering disqualification in qualification for missing the change over zone (having more than 15 metres between riders) to not even stand a chance of challenging for a medal.
Meanwhile, Bury St Edmunds’ Paralympic handcyclist Brian Alldis remains hopeful of clinching a Great Britian team berth for this summer despite struggling in his first European Handcycling race of the season.
The 25-year-old competed in Rosenau in France last week over a 44km flat course and despite starting strongly could not cope with the race leaders pace as he finished in 21st place overall.
Alldis still has limited chances to impress Paralympic selectors in upcoming races in Switzerland, Czech Republic and Italy and despite conceding it will be hard, he is still hopeful of booking his place at London 2012.
“Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself hoping for a top ten finish in Rosenau,” he said.
“Looking at the Paralympics I think it is going to be hard to qualify because the British team is very strong.
“However I’m not giving up hope. Selection will be made on who has the biggest medal potential so if I can hit form at the right time then I may still have a chance.”