By Rob George 02/08 Updated: 02/08 20:26
BROMSGROVE cycling sensation Jess Varnish’s dreams of Olympic glory were cruelly smashed when she and partner Victoria Pendleton were disqualified from the Women’s team sprint on Thursday (August 2) evening.
The pair missed out on a chance to race for a gold medal when officials Pendleton had over-take half a bike wheel too early at the start of the second lap of the two-lap semi-final against Ukraine.
Devastation at their exit was compounded as the pair’s progress looked perfect in the qualifying round when they crossed the line in a new world record time.
Celebrations were short-lived, though, as the Chinese pair bettered even that time.
But the afternoon - and the expectation of gold - was turned on its head after a technical offence as Pendleton passed her partner for the final sprint had officials poring over the tape.
Jess and Victoria Pendleton, together with Team GB officials, then had an agonising wait as a decision was made and confirmation that the pair were out left the normally pumped-up velodrome absolutely flat.
The devastating blow means the 21-year-old’s Games have come to a premature end while Pendleton has one more chance for gold today (Friday) before she retires from the sport.
Jess’s father Jim, himself a former cycling champion, gave his reaction on Twitter and said: “The cruellest result.”
The former South Bromsgrove High School pupil was too devastated to speak to the media but Pendleton told the BBC: "It happens so quickly when you are full speed in a team sprint. Jess moves up and that's my cue to take over but it was a metre or so too early, unfortunately.
"It was on the change. Jess got stuck a bit on the start and perhaps it put her a little bit on edge and perhaps she was trying to make up for the difference she lost.
"I'm desperately disappointed for Jess because she has done an incredible job in getting this far.
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