Pendleton left stunned

Pendleton left stunned

Victoria Pendleton admits her relegation in the first of her women’s sprint final heats against Australian rival Anna Meares left her stunned.

Pendleton, with a keirin gold medal already in the bag, was hoping to bow out with a second gold on her final night of competition before retiring.

But although Pendleton edged out Meares in the first of three heats on Tuesday she was relegated after race commissaires ruled she had moved out of the sprinters lane.

Television replays highlighted Meares nudging Pendleton before she moved out of her lane but the Australian had a 1-0 lead and she won the second race to leave Pendleton with a silver medal.

Pendleton, who had already been disqualified from the team sprint on day six of the Games, admits she began to think luck had deserted her.

“The commissaires made their decision and you have to move on,” she told BBC Breakfast. “But the decision in the first ride did shock me.

“Having been disqualified earlier in the Games I thought ’what can I do? It’s not on my side’.

Pendleton’s keirin gold, where she led from the front and could not be caught, helped offset her disappointments in the team and individual sprints.

“In the last few years I’ve been working on improving my power and I wanted to take it on. I wasn’t going to wait for my rivals. If a chance came along I was going to take the front and hang on to it for all I’m worth.”

Pendleton, 31, has no regrets about her decision to retire, adding: “I’ve been 10 years in the team and six of those I’ve been world champion. The standard is too hard to maintain any longer.

“Also psychologically coming into a home Games as reigning Olympic champ has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do and I wouldn’t want to do it again.”

Pendleton is confident that ’Queen Victoria’s’ succession is firmly in place at British Cycling, led by double London 2012 gold medal winner Laura Trott.

“There’s quite a few emerging, you don’t know them yet but you will do. I’m sure there will be lots of new faces – like Laura – coming through and winning lots of medals.”

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