7 August 2012

Sir Chris Hoy Signs Off In Style But Pendleton Misses Out

Team GB's track cyclists won three medals including two gold on the final day of action in the velodrome to take their tally to seven golds, equal with the amount that they managed in Beijing four years ago. Sir Chris Hoy and Laura Trott stormed to take their second wins of the Games in the keirin and omnium respectively. The gold medals took Great Britain and Northern Ireland up to 22 gold medals in total and strengthened their stranglehold on third place in the process.

After Hoy and Pendleton had easily progressed into their finals Laura Trott was up in her 500 metre time trial, the last event of the omnium. She went into it needing to finish three places above American Sarah Hammer to take the gold after being pushed back into third place in the scratch race earlier in the afternoon. She absolutely went for it in the time trial and won it in a time of 35.110 seconds ahead of Annette Edmondson. Hammer could only finish in fourth place behind Sanchez of France to give Trott a dramatic victory and gold medal. It was the 20-year-old's second win of the Games after also taking gold with the women's team pursuit. Thanks to Trott's great performance the stage was perfectly set for the elder statesmen to take centre stage.

Pendlton faced old rival Anna Meares in the final in what was always going to be a classic. The Australian 2004 Olympic time trial winner won the sprint world title in 2011 but lost it this year to the Brit in Melbourne. Meares was hoping to beat Pendleton this on her own patch this time. The first race was highly controversial as Meares appeared to elbow Pendleton, forcing her out of her lane in the process. Pendleton won by a tyre width but was then relegated for leaving her lane. Despite some heated discussions in the centre of the track the decision stood and the Brit faced having to come back from one-nil down. It wasn't to be for the queen of the track in her last ever race as she failed to hold off Meares who stormed through to take her second Olympic gold, equalling Pendleton's tally.

The last to ride for Britain was Sir Chris Hoy as he set about surpassing Sir Steve Redgrave's total of five Olympic golds and levelling Bradley Wiggins's total amount of seven medals. The hunky Scot went out behind the pace-bike in third place before making his move almost as soon as the pacing bike made way. With still three laps to go Hoy stormed away from the field but German Maximilian Levy passed him with less than a lap to go. In the face of adversity Hoy immediately fought back as Levy struggled as a result of covering more ground and the home favourite came through in fine colours to win his record sixth gold medal.

It was a fitting swansong for one of Britain's greatest ever sportsmen and at the age of 36 he confirmed that this would be his last Games: "I'm in shock but this is just surreal and this what I wanted, to win gold in front of the home crowd. After seeing my team-mates win gold I wanted to come to the party. Unbelievable. The perfect end to my Olympic career. You won't see more, not in the Olympics as I'm 99.9% sure that I won't be competing in Rio."

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