Vicki’s on track for gold

Victoria Pendleton is a British track cyclist with some serious credentials. Born and bred in Stotfold, she is a former women s world sprint champion who also took part in the last Games in Athens two years ago. Barring injury, she is a genuine medal cont

Victoria Pendleton is a British track cyclist with some serious credentials.

Born and bred in Stotfold, she is a former women's world sprint champion who also took part in the last Games in Athens two years ago.

Barring injury, she is a genuine medal contender for the Olympics in Beijing 2008 and will still be in contention for the massive London event four years later.

The 26-year-old is also The Comet Sportswoman of the Year after twice being a finalist.


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Victoria won four silver medals in the UK national championships in 2001 while still a student.

In 2002, she qualified for England's Commonwealth Games team, finishing fourth in the sprint.

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She again came fourth in the sprint at the world championships in Stuttgart a year later and then the following year's world championships in Melbourne.

Victoria was ranked second overall in the World Cup for the sprint in 2004, including winning the World Cup event in Manchester.

A disappointing Olympics by her own high standards saw her miss out on the medals in the women's time trial and sprint.

Victoria won her first major medal in 2005 with gold in the women's sprint at the world championships.

She also won silver in the women's 500m time trial and gold in the women's sprint in Melbourne at the Commonwealth Games this year.

Her performances on the track at world level have been steadily improving over the past five years.

"I have been to five world championships and I have been in the top four in the last four and top two in the last two," she said.

She is just back from another World Cup event in Moscow where she made up for a disappointing performance in the women's sprint with a superb win in the women's keirin.

And Victoria is back racing in this country in February for the final round of the track cycling World Cup series.

This is at the Manchester velodrome - where she made her international debut in 2002 - from February 23-25.

The cream of international track cycling have already been to Sydney and Moscow - with Los Angeles to come - before the crucial final round of the track World Cup takes place in England only a few weeks before the world championships in Palma, Mallorca.

Victoria was pipped to the sprint gold at the world championships in Bordeaux earlier this year by Natallia Tsylinskaya.

So she will be out for revenge over the Belarusian in front of a home crowd in Manchester.

"It would be very, very nice," continued the local girl.

"Obviously it would be more important to beat her in Palma and win the stripy jersey.

"She is very strong and experienced but I know what I have to do to beat her and fingers crossed that I can get it right on the day."

Victoria added: "My training has really gone well this year.

"I have put a lot of work in at the gym and on the road so I have got some nice base work.

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