Preview: Victoria Pendleton gears up for golden goodbye
After Tuesday Victoria Pendleton never has to get on her bike again, and she’s planning to bow out in style.
Having already taken gold in the women’s Keirin event at London 2012, Pendleton’s final act before retiring from competitive cycling will see her line up in the semi-finals and then hopefully the final of the sprint competition, where she could – almost fittingly – end up facing her great Australian rival Anna Meares.
The likes of China’s Shuang Guo and Kristina Vogel of Germany have impressed during the Games too, but when Pendleton is on song there are few who can match her, and in her final day as British cycling’s ‘golden girl’ she’ll be determined to provide a golden finish.
Doing so would ensure a third Olympic success in what has been a glittering career.
Along with the likes of Jessica Ennis and Tom Daley, the 31-year-old Pendleton was always one of the faces of the London Games, but after her and team-mate Jess Varnish got things so spectacularly wrong in the women’s team sprint event things looked as though they could quickly turn sour in London.
The character Pendleton showed in bouncing back to take the Keirin title last Friday evening cannot be overstated, and now as she looks to defend the sprint title she won in Beijing there appears to be a steely glint of determination in her eye for the final time.
Monday’s impressive quarter-final victory over Belarus’s Olga Panarina set up Pendleton’s place in the semis, and after sitting trackside for Jason Kenny’s men’s sprint title victory she’ll be well aware of just what kind of reaction a British win in the velodrome can provoke.
As she gets set to climb into the saddle for the final time, Pendleton will be determined to leave behind no regrets.
It is less clear whether Sir Chris Hoy will be calling it a day after his Games comes to an end, which will be on Tuesday evening after the men’s Keirin.
Victory for the 36-year-old would see him move out on his own as Britain’s most successful Olympian, with his total of six gold medals surpassing Sir Steve Redgrave’s five and seeing him draw level with Bradley Wiggins on seven overall medals of varying colours.
Laura Trott is at the other end of the career scale, but the 20-year-old already has an Olympic gold medal from the team pursuit and will go in search of another one when the women’s Omnium comes to a close on Tuesday evening.
Elsewhere on a packed day 11, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake return to the track as the heats for the 200metres take place inside the Olympic Stadium, whilst Lawrence Clarke, Andy Pozzi and Andy Turner go for Great Britain in the heats of the 110m hurdles.
In the evening, Lawrence Okoye will throw in the men’s discus final whilst Robbie Grabarz takes part in the high jump final. Australia’s Sally Pearson is the favourite for gold in the final of the women’s 100m hurdles.
Brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee take on the gruelling triathlon course at Hyde Park, whilst the weightlifting events come to an end with the +105kg class.
Welsh boxers Andrew Selby and Freddie Evans can guarantee themselves a medal if they come through their quarter-finals, whilst Great Britain need to draw against Spain to qualify for the men’s hockey semi-finals.
It’s the semi-finals and final of the men’s 3m springboard diving on Tuesday, whilst the semi-finals of the men’s football tournament see Mexico face Japan at Wembley, and South Korea take on Brazil at Old Trafford.
Tuesday’s key events:
Athletics: Men’s High Jump (Medal event) (19:00 – 21:15)
Men’s Discus Throw (Medal event) (19:45 – 21:05)
Men’s 1500m Final (Medal event) (21:00 – 21:10)
Women’s 100m Hurdles (Medal event) (21:15 – 21:25)
Boxing: Men’s Quarter-Finals – Flyweight and welterweight (20:30 – 22:30)
Cycling – Track: Women’s Omnium 500m Time Trial (Medal event) (16:50 – 17:25)
Women’s Sprint Finals (Medal event) (17:25 – 18:25)
Men’s Keirin Finals (Medal event) (17:55 – 18:10)
Diving: Men’s 3m Springboard Final (Medal event) (19:00 – 20:30)
Football: Men’s Football Semi-Finals – Mexico v Japan (17:00) and South Korea v Brazil (19:45)
Hockey: Men’s Hockey – Spain v Great Britain (19:00)
Triathlon: Men’s Triathlon (11:30 – 13:45)
Weightlifting: Men’s +105kg Group B (Medal event) (15:30 – 17:30)
Men’s +105kg Group A (Medal event) (19:00 – 20:40)
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