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Cycling
No love lost between Pendleton and Meares
British track champ Victoria Pendleton talks of incident that has led to bitter rivalry with Australian Anna Meares.
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2012 20:59
Victoria Pendleton (R) celebrates victory in Women's Team Sprint in London with Jess Varnish [GALLO/GETTY]

Olympic track cycling champion Victoria Pendleton added fuel to the fire of her great rivalry with Anna Meares on Tuesday by branding her a rider who "pushes the rules", but said she bore the Australian no ill will despite years of frosty relations.

Pendleton and Meares have barely spoken since the Australian cut her off at a race in Bordeaux more than five years ago and the Briton suggested there was little hope of a detente in the lead up to the London Games.

"Anna and I are very different riders - she's someone who kind of likes to push the rules and I definitely don't," Pendleton, who beat Meares for the individual sprint title at the 2008 Beijing Games, told reporters in Melbourne.

"But there's nothing wrong with that. It's just slightly different styles and how we approach the same event.

"I was really annoyed when she cut me off in the keirin in 2006 because they don't re-start keirins and your chance is
gone.

"That really shocked me because she apologised for doing it afterwards, saying 'I'm sorry I hooked you, I didn't mean it to be dangerous' and I was like 'well, okay then, I wouldn't do it, you might do it'."

Pendleton, 31, and 28-year-old Meares will continue their rivalry at the world championships in Melbourne next week and are expected to tussle for Olympic gold at the London velodrome.

The pair each have eight world titles to their name, though Pendleton has dominated Meares in the individual sprint
throughout their careers barring last year's world championships in Netherlands, where the Australian broke through for her first title in the event.

       Australian Anna Meares is one of Pendleton's biggest rivals [GALLO/GETTY]

Meares, who won the now-defunct 500 metres time trial title at the 2004 Athens Games, also took a psychological point at the Olympic test event last month at the London velodrome by edging Pendleton in their hard-fought sprint semi-final.

Pendleton said the pair were similar in their ambition and performance, and that the friction between them was natural.

"If you get two people in the same room like that, there's bound to be a bit of (slaps fist into hand).

"I've heard her make some comments about how she dislikes me and I dislike her - I'm not entirely sure where it's come from because we used to be quite good pals," she said.

"I remember going out with her for a few beers actually in Stuttgart after the world championships in 2003."

"I don't think she'd want to have one with me (now), which is sad," said Pendleton.

"At the end of the day, this isn't war, this is sport."

Source:
Reuters
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