LONDON (AFP) — Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish’s dreams of winning gold in the inaugural women’s team sprint at the Olympics were shattered after officials relegated the pair from the competition Thursday.
Pendleton and Varnish had qualified for the gold medal match with China but were later relegated by judges for “an illegal change.”
China will meet Germany in the final while Australia will face Ukraine in the battle for bronze.
A UCI official later told AFP the pair were disqualified after Varnish “peeled off too early” in the changeover zone on
the track prior to Pendleton starting her lap.
The setback ends Pendleton’s bid for three gold medals at the Games, in which she is also competing in the sprint and keirin.
“It’s just one of those things that happened. We were probably just a bit too eager and excited for a ride,” said a distraught Pendleton, who had earlier set a world record in the event. “Now and again rubbish things happen and this is one of those. The only positives I can take is I know I’m in good form.”
After Britain’s new world mark of 0:32.526, Chinese duo Gong Jinjie and Guo Shuang went on to set two new worlds records on their way to the final. Having set a record of 0:32.447 in topping qualifying, the Chinese pair then led the first round times in a new world mark of 0:32.442.
Germany’s Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte set the previous record of 0:32.549 in Melbourne in April. Vogel and Welte will face the Chinese team in Thursday night’s final.