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