SPRINT queen Vicky Pendleton says the huge pressure to shine in London 2012 is almost suffocating both her and the rest of the British cycling team.
A spectacular haul of cycling gold medals at the Beijing Olympics and world championships has sent expectations soaring for the home Games.
Pendleton chalked up yet another sprint first place at the recent track world championships in Copenhagen, adding a silver medal in the women’s keirin event. Pendleton, 29, is aiming for three golds in London and noticed the first rumblings of discontent in Denmark after Britain fell behind Australia in the overall table.
And with the entire team now marked men and women with rivals, Pendleton is increasingly aware of the difficulties of staying clear of the field. She said: “Everyone is feeling the pressure already that Britain is expecting great things from their team, and the cycling team specifically.
“I feel more pressure on me now than I ever have in succeeding in big competitions like the world champs and the Olympics.
“There are a few new challenges to deal with to stay there at the top.
“The standard is very high in terms of what is expected of us come 2012 because of what we have achieved in the recent past. You started to see it already in Copenhagen – we didn’t come away with all the gold medals we expected. There was some doom and gloom about the place.”
The pursuit of excellence continues. Complacency is the dirtiest of words in Pendleton’s camp – and sacrifice is the most commonplace.
“Becoming complacent would be the kiss of death,” she added.
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