It wasn’t the dream ending everybody had hoped for, as Victoria Pendleton had to settle for silver in her last ever track cycling race before retirement.
After looking unbeatable all through the earlier rounds, Pendleton faced her long-time rival Anna Meares in the individual sprint final tonight. Pendleton was looking to defend her Olympic title, Meares looking to snatch it back.
In a nail-biting first race, Pendleton just pipped Meares on the line by one thousandth of a second, but was then disqualified for riding out of the sprinters lane.
Now one up, Meares then dominated the second race leaving Pendleton with silver on her farewell ride. This adds to the gold that Pendleton won in the keirin event.
Pendleton has been quite open at her eagerness to finish her track cycling career and the overwhelming emotion seemed to be that of relief.
Speaking afterwards she said, “I am just so relieved right now. I am just so overwhelmed with emotion. I would have loved to have won in my final race. At the same time, I am just so glad I am done and I can move on.”
She was also very gracious to Meares, saying, “Anna was wonderful. She did a fantastic job. She deserved it today. We have met each other on numerous occasions. When you meet a rider of that calibre, it’s always going to go either way. We had a good hug and chat (after the race). It was emotional.”
Looking forward to her retirement 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.”
The Women’s Sports Magazine