Victoria Pendleton brought the curtain down on a spectacular career with an Olympic silver medal in the sprint.

The British sprinter lost out to her rival Anna Meares (Australia) in the final despite a narrow win in their first race. In a reverse of their match at the World Championships this year, it was Pendleton who was relegated for coming out of the sprinter’s lane.

In the second race, Meares showed incredible skill to trackstand at the top of the exit of bend three on an impossible gradient. Pendleton couldn’t hold her bike still and was forced to roll around in front of Meares and take the lead.

As soon as Pendleton went to the front, she slowly built her speed over the next two laps and gave Meares an armchair ride to the finish.

It wasn’t the way Pendleton would have wanted to end her career, and may wish the sprint was scheduled before the keirin on the Olympic programme, but a silver and a gold is a fine way to sign off after 23 years of bike racing.

Pendleton retires with nine world titles, two Olympic titles and an Olympic silver. Only Meares comes close to such a haul of accolades.

There is likely to be a tinge of disappointment to the result as the sprint is the one that Pendleton wanted, and viewed the keirin as a bonus. She only missed out on a medal in the team sprint because of another relegation as Jess Varnish was judged to have swung up too early.

“I am just so relieved right now. I am just so overwhelmed with emotion,” Pendleton said after the sprint finale. “I would have loved to have won in my final race. At the same time, I am just so glad I am done and I can move on.” 

Pendleton was gracious in defeat and said of her long-time rival Meares: “I am glad it got to that stage because I believe she’s the best rider on the field. Anna and myself in the final. We have met many a time. I wish her all the best. I am glad to say that this is the last time I have to go through this.” 

However, Pendleton’s second relegation of the Games at the hands of the commissaires obviously stung. “I was really annoyed because I was sure that she [Meares] touched me and it caused me to move up. I cannot believe twice in one competition that I have been relegated, disqualified, it’s unheard of. It’s a bit of surprise. It did knock my confidence a bit, I have to say. I really tried in that last ride. I don’t know. Sorry. This is it. I cannot believe it’s all over.”

London 2012: Live text coverage of cycling events

August 7: Track cycling day six

August 6: Track cycling day five

August 5: Track cycling day four

August 4: Track cycling day three

August 3: Track cycling day two

August 2: Track cycling day one

August 1: Men’s and women’s time trials

July 28: Men’s road race

July 29: Women’s road race

London 2012: Latest news

Sir Chris Hoy looking good as British cyclists look to end with a flourish

GB doing something right says O’Shea

Comment: Hindes’s purposeful crash – fair or foul?

New format for team pursuit explained

Pendleton and Varnish out of team sprint

‘Hot pants’ key to Pendleton and Hoy sprint

Britain’s sprinters looking to continue GB medal haul

Wiggins: Tour was perfect Olympic TT preparation

Olympic time trial round-up

Pendleton warms up for London 2012

Cancellara in, Evans out of time trial

CW eyewitness: Remember the name

Cavendish finds solace in commitment of his team mates

London 2012: Team info

Men’s road race start list

Women’s road race start list

Men’s time trial start list

Women’s time trial start list

Team GB rider profiles

Great Britain track team confirmed

Bronzini leads Italian Olympic cycling team

British Olympic men’s road race team announced

Armitstead and Cooke lead GB women’s road cycling team

London 2012: Event guides

Mountain bike event guide on
www.mbr.co.uk

Olympic Games men’s time trial: Who will win?

Olympic Games women’s time trial: Who will win?

Olympic time trial routes announced

Olympic Games women’s road race: Who will win?

Olympic Games men’s road race: Who will win?

Download detailed Olympic road race route map

London 2012 cycling schedule

London 2012: Reports

Tremendous Trott eliminates the rest in Olympic omnium

Kenny stuns Bauge in sprint to win second gold

Bronze for Clancy while Pendleton marches on

Pendleton sets new Olympic record to qualify ahead of Meares

Trott, King and Rowsell keep gold medals coming

Kenny lights up a stuttering men’s sprint competition

Track day two: Pendleton and team pursuiters deliver more gold

Track cycling day one: Hoy leads team sprinters to gold

Wiggins wins gold in men’s time trial, bronze for Froome

Armstrong defends Olympic title in women’s time trial

Cycling events medal table

Women’s road race: Armitstead wins silver as Vos strikes gold

Men’s road race: Vinokourov wins as Cavendish misses out

London 2012: Photos

Track day five by Andy Jones

Track day five by Graham Watson

Track day four evening session by Andy Jones

Track day four evening session by Graham Watson

Track day four morning session by Andy Jones

Track day four morning session by Phil O’Connor

Track day three evening session by Andy Jones

Track day three evening session by Phil O’Connor

Track day three morning session by Andy Jones

Track day two by Phil O’Connor

Track day two by Graham Watson

Track day one by Andy Jones

Track day one by Phil O’Connor

Track day one by Graham Watson

Men’s time trial by Graham Watson

Women’s time trial by Graham Watson

Pendleton track training

Women’s road race by Andy Jones

Women’s road race by Graham Watson

Men’s road race by Andy Jones

Men’s road race by Phil O’Connor

Men’s road race by Graham Watson

Team GB road race training on Box Hill (July 26)

London 2012: Podcasts

Cycling Weekly podcasts on Soundcloud