Laura Trott opened her bid for her second 2012 cycling medal with the sort of zeal that has made her the apparent heir of Queen Victoria Pendleton.
The diminutive 20-year-old, who took gold last week in the women's pursuit in a world record time, began her two-day campaign in the omnium – a sort of cycling decathlon consisting of multiple disciplines – with a strong performance in her first three races to leave her leading overnight, ahead of today's deciders.
Trott, who is the current world champion in the six-race event and favourite for gold, has battled physical adversity on her long journey to success. She was born with a collapsed lung, which threatened her life, and overcame asthma but still suffers from a stomach condition which makes her liable to vomit after every hard race or training session.
Experts said yesterday that Trott's tender years means she will earn a fraction of the £20m windfall likely to come the way of the Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins or the £10m estimated earnings of Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis, but stands to reap benefits in the long term.
Steve Tidball, creative director of the advertising and market company TBWA (London), said: "Right now the gold medal is more of an emotional reward than a financial one for her. As a 20-year-old prodigy in one of the greatest conveyor belts of talent in history, and with Pendleton's retirement looming, she will have her eye on being the 'new Vicky' in the public's eyes."