Sir Chris Hoy strikes keirin gold at the UCI World Cup in London
Four-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy claims keirin gold at the UCI World Cup in London - his 51st career World Cup medal
Sir Chris Hoy roared from behind to claim keirin gold at the UCI World Cup in London – fuelling hope of an Olympic encore in exactly 170 days’ time.
Four-time Olympic champion Hoy admitted some disappointment after settling for team sprint bronze 24 hours earlier but was unstoppable in the keirin – winning three consecutive races to underline his dominance of the discipline he won at the Beijing Games.
He will now look to stamp his form ahead of next month’s World Championships in Melbourne in Sunday’s sprint – where British team-mate and London 2012 selection rival Jason Kenny will be amongst his main challengers.
“To win in front of this crowd and to hear the roar when you cross the line was amazing,” said Hoy. “It didn’t feel like a World Cup it felt like a much more significant race than that.
“There was so much energy in the crowd it was unbelievable and if you use that energy in the right way and don’t get anxious, it’s great.”
Hoy might be 35 but he is defying those, most notably British head coach Shane Sutton, who claimed he would inevitably slow down following his success in Beijing.
He added: “The sports science guys say I hit 78.1 kmph in that final and I’ve never gone faster in a keirin race.
“I could have gone to the front but it’s nice to try out different things.”
Meanwhile, there was disappointment for Victoria Pendleton, following her world record breaking team sprint heroics with Jess Varnish on Friday night.
She was just edged out 2-1 after three sprint semi-final races with arch-rival Anna Meares.
Meares and Pendleton are both Olympic and multiple world champions but the British rider has never forgiven the Australian for deliberately riding into her during a race in France several years ago.
And Meares has equally little time for Pendleton, harbouring a simmering resentment of her defeat in the Beijing Olympic final that is only fuelled by recent comments, in which her rival claimed to be a ‘fairer’ rider.
However, Pendleton could make no excuses for her defeat to Meares and was later beaten by Hong Kong’s Lee Wai Sze for bronze.
“It’s very hard to train for three events at the same time and we’ve not tapered down for this event and we’ve come off a very heavy training schedule,” said Pendleton.
“This is the best practice you can get and I’ve had two great days. The team sprint probably had an effect. If you get a world record you can’t help but have something taken out of your legs.
“You can’t go to sleep buzzing after a performance like that and expect to be tip-top the next morning.”
After the high of beating her nemesis, Meares also lost the final in two straight races to China’s Guo Shuang, the Olympic bronze medallist and one-time training partner of Pendleton.
Great Britain’s Jo Rowsell claimed her second gold in 24 hours as she beat New Zealand’s Alison Shanks in the women’s individual pursuit final.
The event, with a proud tradition of British world champions, is no longer part of the Olympic programme but Rowsell’s form is clearly good, giving selectors more to think about as they finalise their team pursuit starting line-up for Melbourne.
And Laura Trott lies third after three events in the women’s omnium, buoyed by a victory in a gripping elimination race that brought one of the biggest cheers of the night. Ben Swift finished sixth in the men’s omnium, which was won by Colombia’s Juan Esteban Arango.