James is golden girl at track cycling Worlds
February 23, 2013 21:10 pm
Becky James kept the women's sprint title in British hands as her stunning week at the track cycling World Championships continued.
James followed the lead of six-time champion Victoria Pendleton, who retired after last year's London 2012 Olympics, with a victory over Germany's Kristina Vogel in a closely fought final in Minsk.
It's Great Britain's fourth gold of the week and a third medal for the 21-year old James, who also won bronze in the team sprint and 500m time trial.
And she certainly is struggling to comprehend her sudden elevation from promising rider to new world star, which goes some way for making amends for the appendicitis that ruined her Olympic dreams last year.
James beat Cuba’s Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez and Australia's Kaarle McCollucha in the early rounds before claiming the scalp of China’s Shang Guo, the Olympic bronze medallist, in the semi-finals.
But the experienced Vogel was always going to be a canny rival in the battle for gold and she won the first race narrowly, before James stormed to win the next two ties and claim the first rainbow jersey of her career.
“I can’t even describe how I am feeling right now,” said James, who will now look for a fourth medal in Sunday's keirin.
“It’s just not sunken in. I didn’t think about it being Vogel who I was riding against because I have never beaten her before.
"If I think about the rider too much it messes with my head so I thought of it being another race, don’t think about it being in the world championships just that I wanted to win.
“I stayed really calm, did my thing and came away with a gold medal. I had targets in my head and I wanted to get top eights in everything and I didn’t know who was here and what form everyone else had but to be stood on top of that podium is such a good feeling.”
Elsewhere, Olympic champion Jason Kenny went out in the quarter-finals of the men's sprint - with his gold medal winning heroics in yesterday's keirin perhaps taking their toll - and Dani King finished eighth in the women's points race.
Britain's best hope of another medal on the final day will probably rest with Olympic champion Laura Trott, who won her trademark elimination race to sit third in the omnium standings with three events to come.
© Sportsbeat 2013