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29th Olympic Games - JO
Beijing, China, August 9-23, 2008
Event 26 - August 18: Women's Sprint Quarterfinals,
No trouble for Pendleton, 'miracle' Meares still alive
By Laura Weislo
The women's sprint quarterfinals were no trouble for Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton and the Netherlands' Willy Kanis, both of whom defeated their opponents with ease. For Pendleton, the world silver medallist Simona Krupeckaite was no match and in both races, the British rider used her superior speed to distance the Lithuanian and finish bike lengths clear on the line. Kanis similarly defeated American Jennie Reed in two races.
The most exciting rides of the quarterfinals were by Shuang Guo, who was spurred on by the chants of the home crowd as she faced Belarus' Natallia Tsylinskaya. In both rides, Tsylinskaya tried to get the jump on Guo, but the Chinese rider had a finishing kick which edged her ahead just before the line, much to the delight of the crowd.
'Miracle' girl Anna Meares of Australia also had a close fight with Clara Sanchez of France. The Aussie, who fractured her neck in a crash in January could well have been watching the Games from a wheelchair. Instead, she fought her way back to health and form and is now in contention for a medal. Meares, the gold medallist in the now defunct 500m time trial in Athens, took the first ride with a long sprint which kept Sanchez on the back foot.
The second races was a highly tactical affair which saw both riders slowing to a crawl as Meares tried to force her opponent to make the first move. The two women dove down the banking to pick up the speed, then switched back and forth in a battle for position coming into the finish. As the bell rang for the final lap, Meares began her acceleration from the inside lane, cutting off the avenue of Sanchez and forcing her to take the slower path up the banking to pass. The French woman make an impressive acceleration out of the final turn and came within inches of the win, but Meares was able to hold on to advance to the semi-final.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Casey Gibson/www.cbgphoto.com
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
Images by Greg Chang/PhotoSport International
Heat 1 1 Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) 0.11.839 0.11.672 2 Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania) Heat 2 1 Shuang Guo (China) 0.11.501 0.11.627 2 Natallia Tsylinskaya (Belarus) Heat 3 1 Anna Meares (Australia) 0.11.716 0.12.108 2 Clara Sanchez (France) Heat 4 1 Willy Kanis (Netherlands) 0.11.944 0.11.767 2 Jennie Reed (United States)