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Cycling: James succeeds Pendleton as world sprint queen

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Great Britain's Becky James succeeded Victoria Pendleton as world sprint champion on Saturday, breaking the six-year iron-grip on the event held by the retired English golden girl and Australia's Anna Meares.

The 21-year-old Welsh cyclist James edged out Germany's Kristina Vogel in the final, making the most of the absence of the now-retired Pendleton and Olympic champion Meares, the duo who had shared all the major titles since 2007.

James had clocked the best time in qualifying, where she was the only woman to dip below 11 seconds, but came back from losing the first race in the final to win the next two against Vogel, who was an Olympic gold medallist in the team sprint.

It was also revenge for James who had lost out to the Germans in the team sprint on Wednesday where she and Jessica Varnish had to settle for bronze.

Vogel was the first German to make the individual final since Annette Neumann in 1996.

"It's unbelievable. I can't believe this has just happened to me," James told BBC.

"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."

There was disappointment, however, for Britain's triple Olympic champion Jason Kenny who suffered a quarter-final exit in the men's sprint.

Kenny, 24, who won both the individual and team sprint titles at London 2012 to add to his team gold in Beijing four years earlier, was knocked out by Sam Webster of New Zealand, a day after his victory in the keirin.

Jarmila Machacova claimed her first world title with victory in the women's points race.

A silver medallist in the discipline two years ago in the Netherlands, the 27-year-old Czech finished ahead of Mexico's Sofia Arreola and Giorgia Bronzini of Italy.

New Zealand's Aaron Gate stunned Olympic champion Lasse Hansen of Denmark to win the men's omnium gold.

Gate, 22, who did not compete in the event at the Olympics, edged Hansen by three points with Australia's Glenn O'Shea, the defending champion, four points behind.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130223/cycling-james-succeeds-pendleton-world-sprint-queen-0