Coronation: “Queen Vic” Pendleton Crowned With Women’s Cycling Keirin Title in London, Guo Shuang Takes Second
Long live Queen Vic.
Great Britain’s newly crowned Track Cycling monarch, Victoria Pendleton, dazzled her nation Saturday – claiming the Women’s Cycling Title in ultra grand fashion before one of the most star-studded crowds to have assembled in London this Summer. The magnificent feat also renders her the sixth British woman in history to win two Summer Games titles – and the first to win individual victories at consecutive Games.
“I said this would be a Summer Games for the girls, this was going to be ‘here come the girls’ and that’s what’s happening,” Victoria said, referring to overall performances and British cyclists taking three of four titles thus far. “I was so excited watching the rowers, I spoke to Katherine Grainger a month ago and when she spoke it sent shivers through me. They were so positive and inspirational and I really took a lot from their performance today.”
Inspired would be an understatement.
In a display of power and speed, the Brit rocketed forward midway through the penultimate lap – taking out a world-class field of top riders. But not before a dramatic stretch as the race approached the finish.
Anna Meares of Australia, her primary rival, smashed her way to the front of the pack as the derny bike – which paces the riders for the first give of eight laps – moved aside.
But Victoria would have none of it. Within 300 meters, the “Queen” accelerated in astonishing fashion, overtaking all riders to lead. It wouldn’t get any easier from there, however. Although the British rider had enough energy reserved to keep her front position, China’s Guo Shuang would explode with some serious challenges of her own. They were to no avail, however, as Pendleton held off all charges from the field. Shuang would eventually finish with a close second.
“I didn’t want to be stuck behind any of those girls because I know they have a lot of speed, and it was definitely a day to take it on if there was an opportunity. When I saw it, I did.”
She certainly did – claiming the Title with more than 6,000 raucous fans celebrating her triumph. Not only were A-list celebrities in abundance, Government officials and Royals were on hand to celebrate. Team USA and NBA Superstar Kobe Bryant, Stella McCartney, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor George Osborne were amongst the many on hand to witness the feat.
But, of course, the immense pressure of multiple events definitely weighed on the Briton. Nonetheless, with one more event to tackle – and a pending retirement imminent after these Games – she’s savoring the moment making her massive mark on the last, and greatest, sporting event she’ll take part in.
“I wouldn’t want the last 24 hours again. I am glad to be retiring because it still goes through my mind why I put myself through this. It was hard to get to sleep last night, because I am not the greatest keirin rider in the world, so to do a good job in my last keirin race was really important to me.”