Euro Track Cycling: Victoria Pendleton leads haul of four British golds

By Ollie WilliamsBBC Sport in Apeldoorn, Netherlands

Victoria Pendleton put a poor sprint showing behind her with an impressive victory in the women's keirin at track cycling's European Championships.

The 31-year-old leaves the Netherlands with two gold medals, having won the team sprint with Jess Varnish on Friday before coming eighth in the sprint.

Pendleton triumphed after a confident ride and, moments later, fellow Briton Matt Crampton won the men's title.

Laura Trott and Ed Clancy won omnium titles to end the Euros in style.

Pendleton's gold comes a day after British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford insisted her failure to reach a sprint medal race on Saturday was no cause for alarm.

"There's no point judging her on what's here because it's part of a process. Everybody has got more to come," said Brailsford following the sprint competition, in which neither the British men nor the women won medals.

Pendleton proved his latter assertion correct on Sunday but will surely happily be judged on the strength of mentality she displayed to win the keirin, an event in which she could only finish seventh at the World Championships, inside the same velodrome in March.

"Saturday was hard. I felt I wasn't ready to do what I usually do, and it's never nice when you're used to winning to get knocked out like that," Pendleton told BBC Sport.

"I had to put it in perspective and I knew the training I'd done so far was more suited to a longer event [such as the keirin] than a shorter, explosive one. I had to let yesterday go, put it behind me and move on.

"Yesterday I wondered whether I had what it takes here, and I was annoyed for letting myself down. [Today] I was determined to relax, enjoy it, take courage in the work I've been doing, and just see it as a new day and a new challenge."

Sir Chris Hoy flew home with a chest infection on Sunday, missing the men's keirin, so Kenny and Crampton instead represented Britain.

Crampton squeaked into the final at Kenny's expense as the duo finished third and fourth respectively in the second round, with Kenny going on to finish seventh overall.

In a far tighter finish than Pendleton's final, 25-year-old Crampton did just enough to hang on for victory.

"You've got to seize these opportunities and take it on," said Crampton of Hoy's absence.

"It's been a tough few years for me, I haven't had any results for a year or two. But now I can set my sights on Melbourne [the World Championships, next April] in the keirin there and hopefully repeat this success.

"The team now is so tough [to get into]. It's hard to come away from somewhere not winning and being on the back foot. If I can make the keirin my own, it's a great chance for London."

In the omnium, 19-year-old Trott followed up victory in Saturday's elimination race - one of six events which form the omnium, held over two days - with a brilliant ride in the individual pursuit element sealing overall gold.

"I set myself up nicely yesterday. I rode a perfect elimination race and I couldn't really have done much more today," said Trott.

By contrast, Clancy triumphed in spite of his individual pursuit performance, clawing his rivals back in the time trial finale to take a title he expressed shock at winning.

Clancy said: "It's been a funny few days. Personally I didn't do so well in the team pursuit final and I wasn't so sure how I'd go in the omnium.

"I wasn't expecting too much and eighth place in the individual pursuit sums up where I'm at. I don't think I'm going that well, and I can't believe I've come away with the win."

Earlier, Jess Varnish came through the first-round repechage of the women's keirin before being eliminated in the second round, finishing 11th.

The close of the European Championships sees the focus switch to Astana, in Kazakhstan.

Nine GB riders will be sent to the Kazakhstan stage of the World Cup in November, led by Hoy, who will spearhead a men's sprint squad looking to recover from a shaky weekend in Apeldoorn.

Though valuable Olympic qualification points were on offer here, little if any damage has been done to Britain's sprint ambitions at London 2012 as the team's previous results mean they are already near-certainties to qualify.

Clancy and Dani King will be the sole endurance riders in Kazakhstan, competing in the omnium. Becky James and Varnish will ride in the women's sprint events, while Pendleton will miss out to focus on training.