| MELBOURNE, April 6
MELBOURNE, April 6 Victoria Pendleton saw off
arch-rival Anna Meares in a tense semi-final duel before sealing
her sixth sprint title on Friday as Britain continued to
overshadow their Australian hosts at the cycling world
Olympic champion Pendleton then defeated Simona Krupeckaite
2-0 in the best-of-three final after the Lithuanian was
relegated for coming off her line in the second-round sprint at
Hisense Arena to clinch Britain's fourth title.
However, the disappointed home nation were buoyed by an
unexpected win for Glenn O'Shea in the omnium.
O'Shea, who won a silver in the men's team pursuit on the
opening day, was level on 20 points with Canadian Zach Bell
going into the last leg of the six-round event, and his
runner-up finish in the kilometre time trial was enough to
secure the title.
Pendleton, 31, burst into tears and hugged her coaches in
the British camp after her gold medal was announced over the
The manner of her win was an anti-climax compared to the
high drama that preceded it, as she and Australian Meares locked
horns in a thrilling tussle in which both riders attacked
aggressively and were punished for it.
"This is probably the most significant and probably one of
the most emotional world titles being the last time I'm going to
do this so obviously it means a lot to me," Pendleton, who plans
to retire after the London Olympics, told reporters.
"I'm delighted to win but it's nice to win by crossing the
line first. Relegations always make you feel kind of a bit weird
and iffy, so it's a shame in some respects and not great for the
crowd either but, you know, they're the rules."
"I was just thinking 'come on Vic, put your legs up, you've
got to get ready for a third'."
Pendleton overcame a bruising crash in the first round of
her semi-final as she edged 2011 world champion Meares in a
thrilling flight to the line to win the decider after her
rival's second-round victory was disallowed.
Meares defeated Pendleton in the semi-final to win last
year's title at Apeldoorn, and appeared to have the re-match
wrapped up convincingly.
Pendleton had been left a tangle of bike and limbs on the
velodrome after the first race, having made contact with Meares
during a bid to catch her in the final straight.
Meares stormed to an easy victory in the second round,
sparking raucous cheers from the packed terraces, but the fans'
delight was cut short minutes later when she was relegated, also
for moving illegally into her opponent's line.
After a cagey start to the decider, with both riders
carrying a warning, Pendleton mounted a stunning attack from
before midway through the last lap to reel in Meares by a tyre
length and land a psychological blow before the London Games.
The 28-year-old Meares recovered to thrash Ukraine's Lyubov
Shulika 2-0 for the bronze but was devastated by her semi-final
"I really did think that I won it," she told reporters,
dabbing at her eyes with a tissue.
"It was very disappointing to feel as though I had
progressed through to the final and then to lose so agonisingly
close in the third round.
"Mentally and emotionally I wavered a bit tonight and paid
for it unfortunately."
Britain's four-times Olympic champion Chris Hoy survived a
huge scare to scrape into the semi-finals of the men's sprint
and set up a mouth-watering clash with team mate and reigning
world champion Jason Kenny.
Scotsman Hoy suffered a stunning defeat to Frenchman Mickael
Bourgain in the last 16 but won his repechage final before
edging out German Robert Foerstemann in a photo finish in a
Hoy's semi-final battle with Kenny could decide which rider
competes for Britain in the sprint at London, with only one
berth allowed per team.
The winner will face either French two-time world champion
Gregory Bauge or Australia's Shane Perkins in the final.
Poland's Katarzyna Pawlowska overhauled Melissa Hoskins of
Australia in the final straight to win the non-Olympic scratch
(Editing by Alison Wildey)
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