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Track cycling speed queen Victoria Pendleton eased the pressure on medal-shy Britain by winning her fourth consecutive and fifth career sprint title at the world championships Saturday.
Olympic champion Pendleton, 29, beat Chinese opponent Shuang Guo over two legs of their gold medal ride-off to defend her title for the third consecutive year. Her first sprint title came in 2005.
Guo won the silver while Simona Krupeckaite claimed bronze after beating Anna Meares of Australia in their ride-off.
Pendleton ultimately proved too strong for old foe Guo in their gold medal match, with the turning point for the Englishwoman coming shortly after the start of the second leg.
Riding slowly high up on the boards Pendleton’s bike slid down the track and she eventually tumbled off, landing awkwardly.
She dusted herself off for a restart, and beat Guo with less conviction in the decider than in the first leg.
Pendleton had been given a relatively easy path to the final four, disposing of teammate Jessica Varnish in the first round, Frenchwoman Clara Sanchez in the second and then Russia’s Victoria Baranova in the quarters.
Meares, who had won gold in both the 500m time trial and the team sprint, awaited Pendleton in the semis in the hope of reversing her result to the Briton from the Olympic final in Beijing.
However, the Englishwoman needed only two rounds to secure her place in the final.
Guo, who won Olympic sprint bronze two years ago, faced arguably tougher opposition in her semi against Krupeckaite, whom Pendleton beat to the gold medal last year in Poland.
The Chinese rider, coached by French Olympic track legend Daniel Morelon, was beaten squarely by her Lithuanian opponent in the first leg but came fighting back to force a decider after leveling in the second.
Guo secured her place in the final with a third round decider.
Excerpt Track cycling speed queen Victoria Pendleton eased the pressure on medal-shy Britain by winning her fourth consecutive and fifth career sprint title at the world championships Saturday.