Britain has new golden girl

Yvonne McGregor recaptured the golden days of Beryl Burton when she took the world pursuit title that her fellow Yorkshirewoman won five times in eight years. It is 34 years since the remarkable Burton took her fifth crown, and yesterday McGregor had a sell-out crowd of some 5,000 on their feet as she snatched the lead with two laps to go in the final here at Manchester velodrome.

Yvonne McGregor recaptured the golden days of Beryl Burton when she took the world pursuit title that her fellow Yorkshirewoman won five times in eight years. It is 34 years since the remarkable Burton took her fifth crown, and yesterday McGregor had a sell-out crowd of some 5,000 on their feet as she snatched the lead with two laps to go in the final here at Manchester velodrome.

She beat Germany's Judith Arndt, who took the title three years ago when McGregor earned her first world bronze in Perth, West Australia. "It shows that age doesn't matter," said McGregor, who plans to defend her title next year in Antwerp and then retire at 40.

"This is almost better than Olympic bronze. I could not have written the story better. The Olympics were exciting but becoming a champion in your own country is special." McGregor, whose career was in doubt in January because of a back injury, is from the same Peter Keen stable that produced the Olympic gold medallist Jason Queally as well as our other Games successes.

She came into cycling 10 years ago, after being placed eighth in the world fell-running championships and competing in European triathlons. She won a Commonwealth track title and broke the world hour record, while her world bronze in 1997 was Britain's women's first pursuit medal since Burton's fourth bronze, in 1975.

The World and Olympic silver medallists Queally, Chris Hoy, and Craig MacLean added another silver to their haul, losing to now four-time world champions France in the Olympic sprint team race by three-tenths of a second. The Brits were beaten by the French trio, Florian Rousseau, Laurent Gane and Arnaud Tournant, in the Berlin world final last year, and also in the Sydney Games.

Britain's medal tally so far in the five-day championships is a gold, two silvers and a bronze, and today Rob Hayles chases another medal. He qualified yesterday to meet Frenchman Francis Moreau in the 4,000m pursuit bronze medal ride-off.

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