Cycling: Houvenaghel strikes gold for five-star GB

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The Independent Online

Wendy Houvenaghel won Great Britain's fifth gold from eight events at the Track World Cup at the Manchester Velodrome last night.

After four wins from six events on the opening day, Houvenaghel followed up Victoria Pendleton's silver in the women's 500metres time-trial with victory in the women's individual pursuit.

The Olympic and world silver-medallist was the fastest qualifier by nine seconds after a ride of three minutes 30.8 seconds and caught Josephine Tomic of Australia to win the final.

Houvenaghel finished second in China to Rebecca Romero, who is absent this weekend with the event poised to be removed from the Olympic programme in changes proposed by cycling's world governing body, the UCI. But the 34-year-old Northern Irishwoman, who lives in Bodmin, Cornwall, was in imperious form in Manchester.

The win followed Pendleton's second medal in two days. The 29-year-old from Stotfold, Bedfordshire, who won the sprint on day one, clocked 33.838secs in the 500m time-trial to finish second to 2004 Olympic champion Anna Meares of Australia, who stopped the clock at 33.632secs.

Willy Kanis of Holland was third and world champion and world record holder Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania was fourth.

It was a personal best in the non-Olympic event for Pendleton, who was only riding because she was without a partner for the team sprint as the only female in the Team Sky+HD squad. "I'm not a 500m rider, I'm not a 500m specialist," said Pendleton, who was using dropped handlebars, rather than the more aerodynamic tri-bars favoured by time-trial riders.

"I'm not about to start wasting my time on a non-Olympic event. But it's a PB by far for me and on dropped handlebars it's the best standing (start) lap I've ever done."

Sir Chris Hoy progressed to the final of the men's sprint with a 2-0 defeat of Australia's Shane Perkins. The other semi-final between Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton went to a decider.