10 July 2020

Cycling: Pendleton and Varnish disqualified

August 2, 2012

Victoria Pendleton’s bid to win three Olympic medals at London 2012 got off to the worst possible start today as she was disqualified, along with team mate Jess Varnish, in the team sprint event on the opening day of the track cycling.

After a qualifying round that saw the world record broken twice in quick succession – first by Great Britain and then immediately after by China – GB were drawn against Ukraine in the first round.

Continuing the lightning form they’d shown earlier, Pendleton and Varnish appeared to have a blistering ride which saw them beat Ukraine, and finish in 32.567 – the fastest time of the round so far, with just China and Venezuela to race.

But just moments after finishing it was announced there was to be a judges enquiry. Whilst British Cycling director Dave Brailsford held a lengthy discussion with the judges, the final race of the round was held – China coming out on top in 32.422 (breaking their own world record set in qualifying).

After an agnosing wait, it was announced that Great Britain had been disqualified for an illegal changeover. As boos rang out around the velodrome, Pendleton and Varnish, clearly shocked, made a quick exit.

Speaking afterwards Pendleton told the BBC,

“It’s just one of those things that happened. We were probably just a bit too eager and excited for a ride.

“Now and again rubbish things happen and this is one of those. The only positives I can take is I know I’m in good form.

“My sprints were by far the fastest in my life so far. I am really sorry for disappointing all of the supporters,” she said. “It’s encouraging, because it shows my form is really good, because that is by far the fastest lap I’ve ridden. When you’re going at that speed, it’s really hard to know where the change comes.”

Sadly, this signals the end of the Games for 21 year old Varnish, while Pendleton will compete in the keirin on Friday and the individual sprint on Tuesday.

China went on to take gold in the team sprint, with Germany winning silver and Australia taking bronze.

The Women’s Sports Magazine

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