Pendleton: Don't blame me for Olympic cycling changes
By Duncan Mackay in Lausanne
December 9 - Victoria Pendleton (pictured), the woman who has led the campaign to ensure that female cyclists are given the same opportunities at London 2012 as the men, has claimed that she fears the row she sparked after last year's Olympics in Beijing have overshadowed her achievements.
The 29-year-old Briton won the sprint title in the Chinese capital but afterwards complained that, unlike her male team-mates Sir Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins, she had not been given the opportunity to win multiple gold medals because the programme featured only three events for women, compared to seven for men.
It is a situation that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are set to address at their Executive Board meeting, which started here today, when they consider a proposal from the International Cycling Union (UCI) to have five events for men and women at London in 2012.
The decision has upset both Pendleton's male and female team-mates because the changes mean that the individual pursuit will be dropped - events won by Wiggins and Rebecca Romero in Beijing.
Romero said: "The proposed changes are ludicrous.
"They are too radical and it's a massive overhaul of the whole Olympic track programme."
A worldwide campaign has been launched to save the individual pursuit and Pendleton hopes that the controversy will not detract from her own achievements.
Pendleton said: "I felt my achievement became tarnished by the whole women's lib thing.
"That's not an image I was looking to develop.
"Maybe people seized on it because I was the last Briton to win a cycling gold medal in Beijing and by the time I crossed the line the novelty had worn off.
"I was the favourite, so it was almost a case of, 'Britain wins another gold, what's new?'
"Maybe people were looking for another angle and the whole debate about women's cycling getting its fair share of the medals provided it.
"From my perspective, the real story was I'd watched a procession of British riders bring home the gold medals all week and when my turn came, I felt under pressure to follow suit.
"It was more of a relief than a triumph that I managed to win.
"But Chris Hoy had won three golds, Bradley Wiggins won two and Rebecca Romero had won a gold medal after switching to cycling from another sport, so those remarks about women deserving a greater share of the medals made my story."
The IOC are expected to announce their decision tomorrow afternoon.
December 2009: Top cyclists write protest letter over London 2012 changes
October 2009: Romero claims cycling changes for London 2012 are "ludicrous"
October 2009: Changes for London 2012 will kill track cycling claims Wiggins
September 2009: UCI plotting equality changes to track programme for London 2012
August 2009: IOC need to take action on gender equality claim WSFF