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Romero dips her oar in new waters

When newly crowned world women's pursuit champion Rebecca Romero first climbed onto a track bike, she fell off. Any hardened trackie knows that such a tumble is not an unusual experience, but it is a measure of the former Olympic rower’s determination that two years to the day that the Team GB rider first made close acquaintance with the boards of Manchester velodrome, she became world pursuit champion.

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By Jeremy Whittle

When newly crowned world women’s pursuit champion Rebecca Romero first climbed onto a track bike, she fell off.

Any hardened trackie knows that such a tumble is not an unusual experience, but it is a measure of the former Olympic rower’s determination that two years to the day that the Team GB rider first made close acquaintance with the boards of Manchester velodrome, she became world pursuit champion.

Sarah Hammer, world title winner at Romero’s expense in Majorca a year ago, looked shell shocked by the Briton’s flying performance, as she warmed down following her defeat in tonight’s women’s pursuit final.

“It is never good to be hurting like that in a pursuit,” Hammer said. “I wanted to call it after the first kilometer. I said to myself, ‘Catch me Rebecca and get this over with.’ I knew unless she was dragging an anchor around that I was never going to win, but I have a silver medal and I am happy with that.”

Romero’s whirlwind success has her on track for achieving that rarest of feats — an Olympic medal in two different disciplines.

“It’s two years to the day since I came here and got on a bike,” Romero said, of her rapid progression as a track cyclist. “I wanted it so badly even if at one point I didn’t think it was going to happen. I still had to have the belief that I could make it happen and I did, so I am ecstatic.”

Romero paid tribute to the home crowd. “I think they made it to be honest,” she said. “I have experienced nothing like that. They gave me the edge, because I was up against Sarah Hammer, and she is a class act.”

Romero, 28, Olympic silver medallist in rowing just four years ago in Athens, has no regrets over her move out of the water and on to two wheels. “I knew point blank, that it was absolutely the right thing, no matter what I went on and did,” she said. “Now’s the
tough part, following on from that. It’s only upward now.”