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Meares has upper hand: Pendleton
Paul Mulvey
00:04 AEST Mon Jul 30 2012

Defending champion Victoria Pendleton says her Australian arch-rival Anna Meares has the upper hand in their fierce contest for track cycling sprint supremacy at the London Olympics.

Both are trying to dodge the favourite's tag, with Meares saying the Briton has the psychological edge after Pendleton won their semi-final clash on the way to claiming her sixth world sprint title in Melbourne in April.

But Pendleton concedes she had a bit of luck in Melbourne when the judges relegated Meares in one of their semi-final races and did likewise to Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaite in the final.

"I have to say she probably has the advantage going in," Pendleton told reporters on Sunday.

"Her performances on the whole over the last 12 months have been a lot more solid than mine.

"I had that one occasion at the worlds, some of it was down to the discretion of the commissaires, so it wasn't purely based necessarily on performance.

"I have to say Anna has to have the upper hand in terms of consistency over the last 12 months."

Meares and Pendleton are effectively one-all this year, with the Australian winning her semi-final at the London World Cup meeting in February, before the Brit reversed the result in Melbourne.

Meares claimed the individual sprint, team sprint and keirin treble at the 2011 world championships and says she's aiming for a repeat in London.

They'll first meet in the team sprint on the opening day of competition at the velodrome on Thursday when Meares teams with Kaarle McCulloch, while Pendleton is joined by Jessica Varnish.

They then have the keirin on Friday and the individual sprint on Monday.

Pendleton beat Meares in the individual sprint final at the Beijing Games in 2008 and is considered one of the host nation's hottest favourites for gold in London.

She was speaking at the unveiling of Britain's latest technological weapon - a pair of electrical tracksuit pants which keep the muscles warm, allowing cyclists less time riding on the rollers between races.

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