Abergavenny cycling sensation Becky James becomes world sprint champion
7:21pm Saturday 23rd February 2013 in Sport
ABERGAVENNY cycle star Becky James stormed to gold in the Indoor Track World Championships women’s sprint final after losing the first leg.
James, 21, was pipped on the line by Kristina Vogel, but then did the same to the German in the second leg before powering to victory in the decider after attacking with a lap-and-a-half to go. It was her first world gold.
Following in the footsteps of six-time world champion Victoria Pendleton, James said: “It’s unbelievable. I can’t believe this has just happened to me.”
The ultimate prize comes on top of two bronze medals in the championships in Minsk, in the team sprint and 500m time trial, and she goes for gold again tomorrow in the keirin.
James had been faster than Vogel all week but the German had the edge in terms of experience making for an intriguing final which saw the rising star of British women’s cycling come of age on the international scene.
"It's unbelievable. I can't believe this has just happened to me," James said afterwards. "I'm world champion and I can't believe it!
"I didn't know if I'd run the first run quite right. We went over the tactics right after. I really wanted to win this so I sat down, kept myself calm and thought about what I wanted to do in the next round, did it, and did it again in the third.
"I didn't think I'd get a single medal - I was hoping to get top eight in everything. I can't believe I got a rainbow jersey."
Her boyfriend, Wales wing George North, was in Rome playing in a Six Nations win over Italy but he Tweeted afterwards: "Great result for the boys tonight. And my beautiful girl @BecksJames is a WORLD CHAMPION!! Well done Becks."
British golden girl Victoria Pendleton was fulsome in praising her successor.
"It was a fantastic competition for Becky. She rode that third race confidently - she was clearly the winner in my eyes before the race was over. I think a lot more titles will be going her way.
"I'm sure she'll have a bit of a break now, though I doubt she'll want to. Then it depends on how many World Cups she wants to do next year before focusing on the World Championships again."
Olympic champion Jason Kenny crashed out in the men's quarter-finals.