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Pendleton: Meares has the advantage

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Pendleton proved her strength ahead of this summer's Olympics

Pendleton proved her strength ahead of this summer's Olympics (Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Victoria Pendleton poses with her gold medal

Victoria Pendleton poses with her gold medal (Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Meares and Pendleton battle it out in the semis.

Meares and Pendleton battle it out in the semis. (Image credit: Mark Gunter)

The track cycling at the 2012 London Olympics is only three days away now, and British fans will be looking to the home nation's big names such as Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton to secure gold, which has proved to be something of an elusive colour over the opening weekend of the Games.

Mark Cavendish's comprehensive defeat in the men's road race on Saturday, for which he was the overwhelming pre-race favourite, came as a surprise to many. In yesterday's women's race Elizabeth Armitstead exceeded expectations by securing silver, but after the highs of the British dominance in the Tour de France there has been a definite sense of disappointment across the country over the last couple of days.

Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins could change all that on Wednesday when he launches his bid for gold in the men's time trial, but after unprecendented track success in Beijing four years ago, many are pinning their hopes on the nation's track stars to push Britain up the medal standings. Yet defending women's individual sprint champion Pendleton has warned that her old rival Anna Meares is probably the one to beat, despite Pendleton beating the Australian in the Beijing final and in the semi final of the Track World Championships in Melbourne last April.

"She [Meares] probably has the advantage going in, because her performances on the whole over the last 12 months have been more solid than mine," Pendleton told The Independent.

"I had that one occasion at the Worlds and some of it was down to the discretion of the commissaires [Meares was disqualified following a rule infringement - ed.], so it wasn't purely based necessarily on performance.

"I have a huge respect for Anna Meares and I know that she has for me. We're just very competitive individuals and our performances have converged at the same moment in a period of time. We're just two individuals who happen to have reached the top of our performance in our sporting lives at the same time, so we meet each other often."

In addition to the individual sprint, Pendleton will also line up in the women's keirin and in the team sprint alongside Jess Varnish.