Cycling: Pendleton surprise on day of golden double

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The Independent Online

Britain's cyclists proved that good things come to those who wait at the track world championships, with the team pursuiters earning a long-awaited gold medal and Victoria Pendleton pulling off a surprise win in the women's sprint.

Britain's cyclists proved that good things come to those who wait at the track world championships, with the team pursuiters earning a long-awaited gold medal and Victoria Pendleton pulling off a surprise win in the women's sprint.

The victories brought the British medal tally to three golds, one silver and a bronze with a day's racing still to come.

The Olympic champion Chris Hoy may have had to settle for bronze in the kilometre time trial, but if the British Cycling Federation's performance director Dave Brailsford can continue to produce results like this week's, then the £20m pledged to the BCF by Sport England and UK Sport for the three years up to the Beijing Olympics will be money well spent.

"We're a pretty drilled outfit, professional in what we do. We look at the detail and at times like this, it all comes together," Brailsford said. "But we are not getting complacent. Some of the results that went against us will spur us on to work harder, to keep us keen and keep us hungry."

Australia have been Britain's nemesis in recent team pursuit finals, but the Netherlands lined up opposite Rob Hayles, Steve Cummings, Paul Manning and Chris Newton here. The British cruised home, more than four seconds ahead of the Dutch, while the Australians had to be happy with a bronze.

"I've been trying not to think about what this would mean to us," said Manning. "We have always been close and it has just taken that little bit extra on the day, and today we got it right."

"If there has ever been a team that deserves to win a world championship, it is that team," said Brailsford. "They have been so professional."

Pendleton's success was a stunning result for a rider who had never won a medal at world championship level, after a poor qualifying ride gave the Hertfordshire 24-year-old a difficult route to the final.

After wins over Holland's Willy Kanis and China's Shuang Guo, she faced the Olympic 500 metre time-trial champion Anna Meares. The Australian is an aggressive rider but Pendleton surged past her on the outside in the first and third heats of the best-of-three series to set up a final against Russia's Tamilia Abassova.

The Briton comfortably took the first heat against Abassova - who won this season's World Cup series in the event - and won a closer second.

"It felt a bit surreal going into the final there," she said. "I don't think I'll believe it until I do it again."

"She is very brave and determined on the track so she deserves to be the world champion," said Brailsford.

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