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Anna Meares (Australia)
Australian defies rival Pendleton after winning two gold medals in Manchester
After leaving the track World Cup at the Manchester Velodrome with two gold medals from the women's team and individual sprint events, Anna Meares (Australia) has claimed that her recent good form was all down to her training environment back in Australia.
"It's the best string of results I've put together in my career so far," Mears told Cyclingnews at her second gold medal ceremony in 24 hours.
"It's all the result of the training environment we've been able to put together down in Adelaide and being able to be injury-free and healthy, tip to toe. It makes a big difference."
Meares's first gold came in the team discipline, where she and Kaarle McCulloch topped a Chinese team that had set the fastest time in qualifying.
"I had a great team sprint result with Kaarle Mcculloch and qualification today for the individual race was only one one-thousandths of a second off going under 11 seconds, but still the second fastest time of my entire career. I put together some really good racing today, but made a couple of mistakes as well but I was lucky enough to come away with the win."
Meares's form has in fact been on an upward trajectory for the last 18 months and, while her biggest rival, Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton, has struggled to match her, Meares is modest when it comes to her ambitions at both next month's Worlds and the 2012 Olympics.
"I'm confident but I'm not overly confident," she said.
"There's still five weeks to go and that's a lot of time for girls to improve and I would expect riders like Pendleton and Guo [China] to improve from where they are now. There's Panarina [Belarus], too, and if you throw all four of us into the mix, we're all racing at the 11 second mark. It makes things very difficult."
Pendleton's glimmer of form ahead of the Worlds came in the Keirin where she took bronze, with Meares finishing in fifth. The British rider has publicly stated that next month's Worlds mean little in her quest for London success. It's a contrast to Meares.
"For me goals are a matter of stepping stones and the Worlds and the other championships, they're the little stepping stones to hopefully get to the big goal that is London, in the best possible form," she said.
"I've never won a world sprint title or a world Keirin title and I want to. Hopefully that's on the cards for me in the next few years."