Becky James to keep on winning - Victoria Pendleton

UCI World Track Cycling Championships 2013

  • Venue: Minsk Arena, Minsk
  • Date: 20-24 February 2013
  • Coverage details: Watch on BBC Two, Red Button, BBC Sport website & mobile devices. Listen on Radio 5 live sports extra. Online text commentaries. Watch again on iPlayer

Great Britain's Becky James has had a fantastic World Championships so far and I believe winning gold in the women's sprint and the keirin will be a huge turning point in her career.

Analysis

"When Kristina Vogel took the first ride off Becky in the sprint final, it looked touch and go. Becky obviously had the speed to beat her but at her age it can be so easy to think that when you are 1-0 down it is all over. So it showed the sort of mental strength that she has got when she came back to take the next two rides and the gold medal. I'm sure there was a lot of hard work going on in the pit in between each of the races, with the sprint coaches Jan Van Eijden and Ian Dyer looking after her, but she still had to go out and put in two fantastic rides."

Having won the world sprint title six times, I know that it is one of the hardest to win, both physically and mentally, so for her to do it so convincingly will be brilliant for her confidence.

It really is a huge achievement, especially after winning bronze in the team sprint and 500m time trial, and it's a good indicator of the direction Becky's career is headed as an athlete. I think a lot more titles will be going her way.

When I won my first world gold, which also happened to be the sprint title, it was the first time I felt that I really belonged in the team. Up until then, I felt I shouldn't really be there because everyone else had an Olympic or Commonwealth title.

But by winning that medal, it was like I earned my position and I had finally arrived on the scene.

Becky's success will put her in the spotlight so my advice would be "don't let those rainbow stripes [on the world champion's jersey] weigh heavy on your shoulders" because I found it really hard to race the next season feeling all eyes were on me.

Becky James (L) challenging Kristina Vogel

James victorious in sprint final

There will also be the pressure from herself because when you've done it once, you don't want to give those jerseys back. You don't want to see someone else wearing it the following year.

Some people probably revel in wearing the jersey but personally I found it a bit challenging at first, I felt the pressure and I really struggled with it.

But Becky is a lot more confident than I am. She takes a lot in her stride and she has fantastic support from the coaches and her family and friends which is a great thing to have.

You could see after the women's sprint final how excited and bubbly she was. That's her all over. She really wasn't expecting to win gold and she was a bit overwhelmed.

Analysis

"There are a couple of top sprinters who are not in Minsk, like Olympic champion Anna Meares, but I think we are seeing the new crop here and she is competing against the best that we are going to see in Rio. They are all going to grow together and these are the people she is going to be fighting against at the next Olympics. This time, she came out on top - the challenge now is staying there. People are going to expect this from her next time so she should enjoy this one and face the next worlds in 12 months time."

She's a far better example of what you need to be world champion than I ever was. She's a lot more comfortable in a competition environment.

By winning gold, and in turn taking that title off me, Becky will automatically qualify for next year's World Championships, so she doesn't need to worry about tapering for World Cups to get qualifying points.

Instead, she can really focus on her training and be in the best form possible to attack the World Championships next year.

Ahead of Rio, the key is to gain as much experience as she can racing against her main rivals because you want to know you can beat everybody going into an Olympics.

She has not had many opportunities to race against all the girls in the field because I've been selected ahead of her. There are limited positions for each of the competing nations, so Becky's missed out. I've been a shadow hanging over her.

Now that I'm not around, it's her chance to get as much as she can out of being a top sprint rider.

Her performances in Minsk have shown that she clearly deserved to be competing. She's now the number one rider in the country and it's about time she had an opportunity to shine.