Reed takes first world championship gold

By Shane Stokes in Manchester, England

After finishing third in the sprint, thus matching the keirin bronze medal she won four years ago in Melbourne, Jennie Reed took her first world title when she triumphed in the keirin on the final day of the world track championships. Reed timed her acceleration perfectly to come around a fading Victoria Pendleton in the race, preventing the Briton from taking a third gold medal. Christin Muche (Germany) was third.

"This is the first world championship win of my whole career. I am elated to get this medal," she said. "I don't think it could be more perfect. I am now in my upper 20s, nearly 30, and I feel that I am stronger than ever. I also think I am enjoying the racing more this year…that helps a lot."

Pendleton went far from the line and appeared to be on the limit with a lap to go. Reed bided her time, matched her on the final bend and then pulled ahead on the finishing straight.

"I don't think she went too early but when she got out of the saddle on the back straight, I was a little bit surprised," the 29 year-old American stated. "I thought she would have a lot more speed but luckily there wasn't too much left.

"I was very excited to come around Vicky, I felt so strong out there," she added. "I knew that I was going to attack it and whatever came after that, I knew I had to give it everything. In my head, I had to be ready to win."

Pendleton had dominated both the sprint and the team sprint with Shanaze Reade, marking herself out as the quickest rider on the track. Reed had to put those thoughts aside on Sunday, convincing herself she could beat her opponent and take her first world title.

"She is always good and she is always so strong, but I know that for the keirin my tactics are usually pretty good," she said. "The only thing was I had to tell myself just to attack it…when I decided to go, it had to be a full effort. I was surprised to come around her."

Reed will now head back to the US and have a two week vacation, relaxing with her family. After that she will begin her buildup for August's Beijing Olympic Games and what she hopes will be an even bigger title. The keirin is not an Olympic event, but she will turn her attention to the sprint and hopes that she can improve on the bronze medal she took in that race in Manchester.

"I love the keirin, but I am pretty happy with my sprint," she said, when asked about her chances. "My form has improved so I am excited."

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