Pendleton stokes rivalry with Meares

BRITAIN’S Olympic track cycling champion Victoria Pendleton has branded her arch-rival, Australia’s Anna Meares, a rider who “pushes the rules”, just days before they are due to clash.

There has been no love lost between the pair since Meares cut Pendleton off at a race more than five years ago, and nowhere is their duel likely to be more fierce than this summer at London 2012.

They will also meet at next week’s World Championships in Melbourne and, although Pendleton insists she has not held a grudge, her words look likely to ensure a highly charged encounter.

“Anna and I are very different riders — she’s someone who likes to push the rules and I definitely don’t,” Pendleton said. “But there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just slightly different styles and how we approach the same event.”

Pendleton beat Meares to the individual sprint title at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and has largely dominated her in that event, although the Australian beat her at last year’s World Championships in Holland and at the London 2012 test event last month.

The Bedfordshire-raised rider admits she was “really annoyed” when Meares blocked her off, but said their falling out was “sad”, adding: “This isn’t war, this is sport.”