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2008 UCI Track Cycling World Championships - CM
Great Britain, March 26-30, 2008
Day 2 - March 27: Women's team sprint
Great Britain victorious: Pendleton's first defence successful
By Ben Atkins in Manchester
Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade successfully defended their World Team Sprint championship in front of a hysterical home crowd, already stirred up by British victories in he men's team and women's individual pursuit.
Despite a blistering start from Reade, Jinjie Gong put in an even faster first 250 metres and it looked like the unthinkable might happen and Great Britain not win. Pendleton however, stormed around the final lap to finish more than half a second ahead of Lulu Zheng to take the title, just half a second slower than their World record qualifying time.
"I'm really, really pleased," said Pendleton, ecstatic after successfully defending the first of her three jerseys. "I had a couple of injuries, as all athletes have in their careers, and it held me aback a little bit and I wasn't sure if I was on target [for the Beijing Olympic Games], but now I feel quite happy. I wasn't sure because I couldn't really feel my legs, but I know that's a good sign now!"
Shanaze Reade - accustomed to winning World titles, but less so on the track than her team-mate - was more emotional. "I am just speechless again to break the world record with such an amazing athlete like Victoria," said the BMX star. "It is a massive achievement from me to come here and win, and also to get a personal best in my own lap as well. I feel like I am part of the team and me and Vicky have set a world record again. It is just unbelievable."
This victory sets Pendleton up nicely for tomorrow and what should prove to be the main event for the fast women - the Sprint - as it will be the only race for them in the Beijing Olympic Games.
"It's the hardest event; it's the one that I'm probably most nervous about because it's the one that's most important," said Pendleton. "Obviously I would love to retain my title and go into Beijing as somebody everybody else is watching rather than the other way around.
"There would be a huge psychological advantage on my opponents if I was to win but with the nature of the sprint - as you saw Theo Bos go out just then," she added. "Anything can happen so you just have to focus on each race as it comes and with a little bit of luck, I think, make your way through the rounds."
Jinjie Gong and Lulu Zheng of the People's Republic of China were forced to settle for second place. In third was German duo Dana Glöss and Miriam Welte who took bronze over France's Sandie Clair and Virginie Cueff.
New World record for Great Britain
Defending World champions Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade have broken the World record in qualifying for the Women's Team Sprint final. The Great Britain pair took the lead against qualifying opponents France thanks to Reade's outstanding first lap speed, and Pendleton's endurance increased the gap to finish a long way ahead of the French, who could only finish third fastest.
The Chinese team of Jinjie Gong and Lulu Zheng will meet Great Britain in the final as their victory over the Germans in the second to last heat turned out to be second fastest. The German pair will go up against France for the bronze.
The expected duel between Great Britain and the Netherlands – which made up last year's ultra close final – had no chance of occurring as, despite both being present at this year's championships, Yvonne Hijgenaar and Willy Kanis did not enter the event.
Finals 1 Great Britain 0.33.66 (54.239 km/h) Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) Shanaze Reade (Great Britain) 2 People's Republic of China 0.34.22 Jinjie Gong (People's Republic of China) Lulu Zheng (People's Republic of China) 3 Germany 0.34.04 Dana Glöss (Germany) Miriam Welte (Germany) 4 France 0.34.23 Sandie Clair (France) Virginie Cueff (France) Qualifying
1 Great Britain 0.33.186 Victoria Pendleton Shanaze Reade 2 China 0.33.943 Jinjie Gong Lulu Zheng 3 Germany 0.34.135 Dana Glöss Miriam Welte 4 France 0.34.165 Sandie Clair Virginie Cueff 5 Russia 0.34.867 Swetlana Grankowskaja Oksana Grishina 6 Italy 0.35.414 Valentina Alessio Elisa Frisoni 7 Thailand 0.37.752 Wathinee Luekajorh Jutatip Maneephan