Even as Vicky Pendleton's reign as the world's top track racer entered its very last phase, Laura Trott, 11 years her junior, both doubled her London gold medal total in the women's omnium yesterday and laid claim to Pendleton's throne.
Initially targeting Rio 2016, Trott has outpaced her schedule by a mere four years, first to form part of the triumphant women's team pursuit squad on Friday and then to shine equally brilliantly as an individual four days later. If a triumph at such a young age is relatively rare in cycling. Trott began concentrating on cycling in her late teens and picked up a European Championship track title in 2010 before becoming the youngest Commonwealth Games participant later that year, where she raced alongside sister Emma.Yesterday, though, the glory was all hers. In a thrilling battle against American Sarah Hammer, the Brit finished in first place in the final two-lap individual time trial, thereby claiming Team GB's sixth track gold out of eight completed events, ahead of Hammer with Australia's Annette Edmondson in bronze.
While GB team-mate Ed Clancy described his bronze medal in the men's omnium on Sunday as a bonus that came despite specific preparation for the previous event, Trott's triumph in was a far steadier affair.
Crowned omnium world champion in Melbourne earlier this year, the 20-year-old was leading after three of the six rounds, winning the opening flying lap event and then taking the elimination – her strongest suit – on Monday night.
However, the individual pursuit, event No 4, represented both a step forward – in that she moved up a spot compared with her performance in Melbourne, to second – and a step back, in that her strongest rival, Hammer, finished first and claimed the overall lead, by just one point.
With a medal now all but guaranteed but Hammer, the world championship bronze medallist, clearly her top threat, the scratch race – event No 5, decided by the first rider across the line – became crucial.
The race edged towards a bunch sprint decider, a final long surge netted Hammer a second place just in front of Trott.
So it came down to the final event. Trott was the favourite, but Hammer's shadowing of the young Briton increased the tension. After each half-laps, with Hammer fading to fourth and a silver medal, Trott continued to towards gold, and the first track medal for GB on this last night of Velodrome racing.Reuse content