London 2012 Cycling: Germany handed team sprint gold as China relegated

Updated: 03 August 2012 01:45 IST

Germany's Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel were crowned inaugural Olympic women's team sprint champions in controversial fashion following the relegation of China at the Velodrome Thursday.

London 2012 Cycling: Germany handed team sprint gold as China relegated

London:

Germany's Miriam Welte and Kristina Vogel were crowned inaugural Olympic women's team sprint champions in controversial fashion following the relegation of China at the Velodrome Thursday.


Guo Shuang and Gong Jinjie had combined to claim what would have been an historic first Olympic cycling gold for China in the two-lap event, only to be relegated soon after for a slight infringement in the changeover zone.

It meant China -- who had smashed the world record twice on their way to the final -- were relegated to the silver medal position, with Australia, who beat Ukraine in the battle for third place, winning the bronze.

"We really could not believe it when we saw it on the screen that we were Olympic champions. It's amazing. It's weird and amazing," said Vogel.

"We couldn't believe it when the Chinese girls were relegated, just like the GB girls, I was thinking, 'what's going on here?'" said Welte.

"I still can't believe it, but it feels very good to be the Olympic champions!"

Guo and Gong were not the only pair to fall foul of the rules as the women's event event made its Olympic debut.

Earlier, Olympic and six-time world sprint champion Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish were relegated from the first round for an "irregular change".

Pendleton and Varnish had signalled their gold medal intentions by beating Welte and Vogel's world record of 32.549sec, set by the German pair last April, to qualify for the gold medal match with China.

But despite protests from British cycling's team chief Dave Brailsford, they were relegated from the first round.

The setback ended 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.

"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."

Guo, China's main hope for gold in the sprint and keirin, and Gong looked devastated on hearing the news. However they returned to the podium for the medal ceremony, smiling as they collected their silvers.

The pair had earlier underlined their gold medal credentials by twice setting a new world record for the two-lap power event in 32.447 and 32.442.

Winning the bronze meant Australian Anna Meares' hopes for three gold medals in London went up in smoke.

Meares, who is regarded as Pendleton's biggest challenger in the sprint and keirin events, had posted the fastest opening lap in the first round only for partner Kaarle McCulloch to perform short of expectations.

"You can't go down that path. That's what we had, that's what we did, that's what we got," said Meares.

"We probably benefited a little bit from the British being disqualified. I can only imagine how devastating that was for them. It was bittersweet for Kaarle and I," she said.



Topics : Olympics 2012 Germany Cycling
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