Pendleton back in spotlight
Sprint star begins road to London 2012
Last Updated: November 5, 2010 11:16am
Pendleton: On right track
Victoria Pendleton returns to the scene of an emotional triumph when the European Championships get under way in Pruszkow, Poland.
The three-day event is being staged at the BGZ Arena in the industrial suburb of Warsaw, where Pendleton won the 2009 world sprint title before bursting into floods of tears.
They were tears of relief for Pendleton, who endured an emotional rollercoaster in the season after taking Olympic gold in Beijing.
But the 30-year-old from Stotfold, Bedfordshire will not be phased when she returns to the boards.
She said: "I'm not the kind of person that links memories and venues together - I'm somebody who lives in the moment.
"It was where I was at personally, but I'm in a very different place now, a much more positive place and I think I'm in better form.
"I've got a long way to go this year but I'm feeling like I'm on the right track."
Pendleton is set to opt out of competing in the sprint - the event in which she is reigning world and Olympic champion - to focus on the keirin and the two-woman, two-lap team sprint, and try and accumulate early qualification points for London 2012.
Pendleton believes her team sprint partner Jess Varnish, who is aged 19 and from Bromsgrove, is ready to come of age in Poland.
"She's looking really strong on the track and in the gym - she puts me to shame with some of the weights she lifts," said Pendleton.
"The dedication she's shown to that first lap is really starting to produce some fantastic results and I think there's a lot more to come from us as a pairing."
Pendleton has twice won the world title in the team sprint, racing alongside Shanaze Read, but believes Varnish is starting to rival the power and times produced by the BMX ace.
"She's very, very close to the times Shanaze was producing already and that's without tapering for competition," said Pendleton.
"It's a very promising and exciting situation to be in because I've never run off a wheel as fast as potentially Jess will be able to go this week - that's quite cool."
Pendleton and Varnish will ride in the team sprint on Friday, while Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton will feature in the corresponding men's event.
Also in action on the opening day will be the team pursuit squads.