Victoria Pendleton: Anna Meares could pip me to gold

Australian rival has shown better form all year

After the men's road race on Saturday, where Mark Cavendish's win was hyped to the point that it almost seemed a fait accompli, Victoria Pendleton is being surprisingly candid about her chances in the sprint.

She said that her arch-rival Anna Meares, from Australia, has the upper hand in the race owing to a more consistent performance over the last year.

"Her performances on the whole over the last 12 months have been a lot more solid than mine," Pendleton told the Telegraph.

She also acknowledged that the pressure was on to beat Team GB after Vinokourov's surprise defeat of Cav and co on Saturday.

She said: "Well, I think when you're achieving the way the cycling team has done, as a GB track team but also as the Sky road team, I think it's hard not to be targeted. If I was riding for another nation I'd be doing exactly the same.

"We're the ones to beat, currently. It'll all change with time, it just happens to be our moment right now. So I think that's something you expect when you have success, it's just something you have to deal with, it's unfortunate, but you have to deal with it."

Pendleton, reigning Olympic and World Champion for the sprint, said that the much talked-about rivalry between her and Meares has been overblown.

She said: "I think the whole rivalry thing between Anna Meares and myself has been blown out of proportion and kind of sensationalised, almost, to make it sound worse than it really is.

"We're just two individuals who happen to have reached the top of our performance in our sporting lives at the same time, so we meet each other often, and that's all it is, quite honestly."

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on

Daily Deals