Victoria Pendleton wants gold in Olympics cycling farewell

By Chris BevanBBC Sport at the London Velodrome

Victoria Pendleton says she wants to "smash" the individual sprint event at the Olympics and sign off with a gold medal in her final race.

The cyclist won gold in the keirin a day after being disqualified in the team sprint, along with Jess Varnish, because of an illegal change-over.

The 31-year-old retires after Tuesday's final and said: "I wanted to win all three but these things happen. I will rest, come back and smash the sprint."

Pendleton is the reigning champion.

She won the individual sprint title in Beijing in 2008. and goes in the qualifiers from 16:00 BST on Sunday, hoping to sign off with victory in Tuesday's final at 18:20.

A third gold medal would make her Britain's most successful female Olympian of all time but Pendleton says she is just delighted to have drawn level with Kelly Holmes and Rebecca Adlington with two golds.

"It means a lot to be in that sort of company," she said. "They are fantastic, inspirational sportswomen and I don't think it has sunk in yet that I can even begin to compare myself to that group of ladies.

"Maybe in a couple of years when I have retired and can look back, I will say 'well done, Vic'."

The London Velodrome was already at fever pitch after witnessing Britain's victory in the men's team pursuit, but the arena erupted as Pendleton held off China's Guo Shuang to win the final by half a wheel.

Pendleton got off her bike in front of the main stand to salute the crowd, before pedalling off to embrace her partner, British Cycling's sports scientist Scott Gardner.

An emotional Pendleton blinked away tears of joy as she explained how holding her newborn nephew had helped regain her focus for her ride to gold.

"After I finished on the track on Thursday, I went outside and had a cuddle with Nathan, who is 10 weeks old. That put it all into perspective," she explained. "When he's a few years older, I will tell him how he made everything seem all right.

"I have not had a 24 hours like this before and I wouldn't want it again. I am glad to be retiring.

"I am definitely not having any second thoughts, not in a million years. It is not going to be a Sir Steve Redgrave situation where he said he was retiring and jumped back in a boat. There is no way I am coming back."

Pendleton had union flags painted on her nails - appropriately courtesy of Varnish - and said she had gained inspiration from watching rowers Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins win gold hours before she topped the podium.

"I said about a year ago that I thought this would be an Olympics for the British girls - and I think it will be," she added.

"I watched Kath and Anna's race. For me, it was the most exciting event at the Olympics. I was speaking to them just a couple of months ago and they were so positive. I really took a lot from their performance.

"They were amazing and it could not have happened to a nicer pair of people really, so, yes, here come the girls!"

Top Stories