The Reuters global sports blog
World records, cramp and crashes; Olympic velodrome’s got it all
Excited Britons Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish interrupted their post-race media interviews to roar on four-times Olympic champion Chris Hoy after demolishing the women’s team sprint world record at the World Cup on Friday, one of four world-record breaking rides around the 2012 Olympics velodrome on day two of the test event’s competition.
Having sat down to avoid leg cramps, rather than standing like the other cyclists while reporters hustled them for a quick word, they paused as Hoy whizzed past at the Olympic velodrome amid a cauldron of noise and then promptly joined in.
“Go Chris!” they screamed at the top of their lungs, the pair having just slashed 0.074 of a second off the world record set minutes earlier by Australian world champions Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch.
“It’s just unbelievable, this track is amazing,” Varnish said as the partisan crowd cheered despite 10-times world champion Hoy only managing bronze in the men’s team sprint.
“We were pleased, weren’t we?” Pendleton said to Varnish as the gold medallists at the Olympic test event exchanged warm smiles after their blistering 32.754 seconds effort.
Defeated duo Meares and McCulloch remained upbeat and, judging by their reactions, a mighty gold-medal tussle can be expected at the Olympics on the same lightning-quick track.
“I think the experience we can take from this is riding against a very loud British crowd,” said Meares, emphasising just how raucous the 6,000 spectators in a capacity crowd became for a short while on Friday evening.
“We’ll be better in London (at the Olympics), you can bet your bottom dollar on it,” said a defiant McCulloch.
After four world records on Friday, you can probably also bet your bottom dollar on more records come the end of the test event by Sunday. And possibly more cramp. Just hopefully no crashes.
Picture: Team Britain cyclist Victoria Pendleton (C) stretches her legs as she waits with her team mate Jess Varnish (3rd L) to be presented with the Gold medal for the Women’s Team Sprint in the UCI Track Cycling World Cup at the Olympic Velodrome in London February 17, 2012. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton