Tag Archives: confession

Lance Armstrong: Australian library brands his books works of fiction

From inspirational tale to work of fiction: Australian library re-shelves Armstrong books after doping confession

Adam Shergold


17:46 GMT, 20 January 2013



17:46 GMT, 20 January 2013

Lance Armstrong's fall from grace after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs shows no signs of slowing.

The professional cycling fraternity has shunned him, the sponsors have dropped him and just about everyone else he's ever crossed is about to sue him.

And now, his books – once an inspirational story of how to overcome adversity – have been re-shelved and re-categorised from 'must-read autobiography' to 'fiction.'

Works of fiction: This sign was on display at Manley Library in Sydney, Australia following the Lance Armstrong revelations on the Oprah Winfrey Show at the end of last week (below)

Works of fiction: This sign was on display at Manley Library in Sydney, Australia following the Lance Armstrong revelations on the Oprah Winfrey Show at the end of last week (below)

Confession time: Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey

Confession time: Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey

Manly Library in Sydney, Australia caused a few smirks after they moved three Armstrong titles this weekend.

A sign at reception read: 'All non-fiction Lance Armstrong titles, including 'Lance Armstrong: Images Of A Champion,' 'The Lance Armstrong Performance Program' and 'Lance Armstrong: World's Greatest Champion,' will soon be moved to the fiction section.'

I wonder how many people will be suddenly very keen to find out what 'The Lance Armstrong Performance Program' involves.

It comes as Armstrong, 41, took to the Oprah Winfrey chat show in the United States to come clean about being at the centre of one of the most sophisticated doping programmes in the history of sport and appealed for forgiveness from the public.

Seventh heaven: Armstrong celebrates winning his final Tour de France title in 2005 - he was stripped of all seven titles after confessing to taking performance-enhancing drugs

Seventh heaven: Armstrong celebrates winning his final Tour de France title in 2005 – he was stripped of all seven titles after confessing to taking performance-enhancing drugs

In a sensational interview, broadcast late last week, Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion, admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs during the most successful part of his career.

But his confession came with a belief that he should be given a second chance to compete.

Today, disgraced former sprinter Ben Johnson said that Armstrong will be quickly forgiven by the American public following his admission.

Johnson, who was stripped of his 100m gold medal from the 1988 Seoul Olympics after testing positive for anabolic steroids, said 'It's going to be fine for him in a few months.'

Disgraced: Sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his 100m gold from the 1988 Seoul Olympics after testing positive for banned steroids

Disgraced: Sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his 100m gold from the 1988 Seoul Olympics after testing positive for banned steroids

Luis Suarez posts picture with a snowman

Having fun Luis Diving charges may be snow joke but Suarez gave them the cold shoulder as he enjoyed the wintry weather

Sunni Upal


18:32 GMT, 18 January 2013



18:44 GMT, 18 January 2013

Despite the recent handball ‘cheat’ claims and the self-confessed diving storm, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez showed things are still all white in his world.

The Reds star Kopped it from his manager yesterday but he gave the critics the cold shoulder today as he posted this picture of him enjoying England’s wintry weather.

While Liverpool’s impeding charges for diving against the striker may be snow joke, at least the Uruguayan was able to enjoy himself ahead of Liverpool’s match against Norwich tomorrow.

Ice cool: Liverpool striker Luis Suarez poses with a snowman

Ice cool: Liverpool striker Luis Suarez poses with a snowman

Suarez recently admitted to falling in an attempt to win a penalty in a Premier League match against Stoke this season, a confession that landed him in hot water with manager Brendan Rodgers.

It was wrong to say what he said,’ said Rodgers. ‘It was not acceptable. This club has always kept its matters in house and that’s what we will do. But diving is not something we advocate here.’

He added: ‘I’ve spoken to Luis on it. I’m not sure it makes a big difference if we are saying he is fined one week’s, two weeks’ or four weeks’ wages.

‘This is a big club, bigger than anyone and whatever people say goes around the world. It certainly doesn’t help him but, more importantly, it doesn’t help the team.’

Suarez may be ice cool today but let's hope he warms up properly tomorrow.

Fun: Suarez and his manager Brendan Rodgers looking relaxed at Liverpool's Melwood training ground

Fun: Suarez and his manager Brendan Rodgers looking relaxed at Liverpool's Melwood training ground

Prolific: Suarez has scored 15 league goals this season

Prolific: Suarez has scored 15 league goals this season

Napoli goalkeeper Matteo Gianello tells court he tried to fix match

Napoli in the dock as shamed stopper Gianello tells court he tried to fix match


19:21 GMT, 10 December 2012



19:21 GMT, 10 December 2012

Napoli went on trial for match-fixing on Monday and could be docked points after its former goalkeeper confessed to arranging the result of a game three seasons ago.

Matteo Gianello confessed to prosecutors that he attempted to fix the match between Sampdoria and Napoli in May, 2010.

Sampdoria won the match 1-0 with a goal from current AC Milan player Giampaolo Pazzini in the 51st minute.

Confession: Gianello admitted that he attempted to fix a game

Confession: Gianello admitted that he attempted to fix a game

It was the final weekend of the season and the victory secured Sampdoria fourth place and a spot in Champions League qualifying.

Current Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro and defender Gianluca Grava were also on trial in front of the Italian football federation's disciplinary committee for allegedly failing to report the fix.

Both players, along with Napoli, deny any wrongdoing. Cannavaro is the younger brother of former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro.

Martin Samuel: Admit it KP, left-arm spin baffles you

Admit it KP, left-arm spin baffles you



23:06 GMT, 18 November 2012

The first step towards dealing with any problem is to recognise that one exists. Viewed like that, Kevin Pietersen is about as close to addressing the issues around his playing of left-arm spin as the housewife who thinks her bottle of gin a day amounts to social drinking.

A moment of clarity, of honesty, is needed. A stark room, a simple confession. My name is Kevin Pietersen, and I can't play left-arm spin for toffee.

In a spin: Kevin Pietersen

In a spin: Kevin Pietersen

It is not as if, in the subcontinent, he would not have an empathetic support group capable of aiding him through this crisis. Spin and slow-turning wickets have given any number of England batsmen the shakes on recent tours. Pietersen, though, remains the greatest casualty.

'There is only one person in cricket who does not think Kevin Pietersen has a problem with left-arm spin,' said Sir Ian Botham, 'and that's Kevin Pietersen.'

India certainly know it. The moment
Pietersen walks in, Pragyan Ojha is summoned to the attack, and it
usually isn't long before KP is walking out again. Ojha has taken
Pietersen's wicket twice in this Test – and yesterday's duel was even
shorter than the first.

India v England pictures

We are unable to carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Pietersen lasted nine minutes and six balls for his two runs, before attempting what looked to be a premeditated slog-sweep to one that bowled him around his legs.

Brought to his knees, literally, it was left to the one faultlessly world-class batsman in the tourists' ranks, Alastair Cook, to steer England through to a score that, even if it does not save the match, will at least have salvaged some dignity in requiring India to bat again if they are to win.

As Pietersen was humbled, so Cook was triumphant. His was a true captain's innings, 168 not out at close of play, a mammoth eight hours and 21 minutes at the crease, the fifth time in his Test career he has batted beyond 400 minutes.

Matt Prior and, earlier, Nick Compton had done their best to stay with Cook, but Pietersen was of no assistance. His team-mates had said they wanted the KP of old, on the occasion of his reintegration into the fold, and that is what they got. The same absence of dedication to duty; the same sense that here was an individual dancing to his own drum.

Support act: Matt Prior

Support act: Matt Prior

When successful, it can be the best of KP, but here it was the worst. Even if he had the capability, Pietersen did not have the desire to dig in and craft an innings that would perhaps rescue England in Ahmedabad.

One imagines he would try to play Ojha his way, whatever the state of the game. Some choose to find this charming. Yesterday, as a response, it looked half-baked and inadequate.

Graham Gooch, England's batting coach and Cook's mentor and champion from his earliest days with Essex, was actually talking in general terms when he raised the issue that cut to the heart of Pietersen's great failing.

In praising Cook and Prior's resilience and that of India's top order, he could easily have been addressing the weakness of the man whose maintenance bills are beginning to creep higher than his run rate.

'The Indian players attack, but they also stick in there and don't take chances,' said Gooch.

'The skill of scoring runs is being
adaptable. You can't play the same way every time; you have to tailor
the way you play to suit the conditions. That is what stands one player
out from another.

put together a hundred today. It's a different skill to scoring a
hundred, I don't know if everyone understands that.

'People go out sometimes and score a hundred: it all goes well for
them, it all fits into place and they have a good day. That boy was
different, because he just made it happen.

Disappointed: England batting coach Graham Gooch

Disappointed: England batting coach Graham Gooch

'I think Kevin will be very disappointed, with both innings. He trains very hard, he practises very hard, he's had good knocks in Colombo against spinners in recent times and he'll be disappointed with his performance here. Like some of our other players, he has to trust his ability.

'There is a certain way of playing over here, you have to get yourself in, trust your defence and if you do that, only then can you look at your scoring options.

'He won't be happy with his return in this match, but he's strong enough and a big enough character to continue working on his game and put it right.'

But is he This was Pietersen's 25th Test dismissal by a left-arm spinner and to deny it as a flaw seems delusional in the circumstances.

Last season, playing for Surrey against Hampshire, he was out first ball, twice, to Liam Dawson, a 22-year-old with two first-class five-wicket hauls to his name, whose slow left-arm orthodox spin plays second fiddle to Hampshire's front-line protagonist, Danny Briggs.

It is going to be a long tour if Pietersen determines to play Ojha as if untroubled. His last shot yesterday was that of a man whistling to keep his spirits up; so desperately determined to appear carefree that every sinew in his body betrays him.

There is a whole troupe of KP cheerleaders waiting for the opportunity to tell the ECB everything their hero is forbidden to say; but yesterday's events were not part of that script.

Yesterday, their man was not central to the narrative, but a blurred figure in the background.

He was not the star, but the stooge.

Cook's century took him level with Pietersen's total of 21 in Tests for England, and there is little doubt who is favoured to lead their tussle by the time the team returns from India.

Cynics have suggested that part of the motivation for including a reintegrated Pietersen on this tour was that if the team went down, as expected, in India, he could not then return as their saviour on the considerably less taxing tour of New Zealand in the New Year.

Reintegration would mean winning – or more likely losing – as a team. The Batman act would be over. If such Machiavellian plotters were at work, events in Ahmedabad have played into their hands. Pietersen is as far from being England's salvation here as he is from making Andrew Strauss's Christmas card list.

He needs to be truthful in recognising his problem; with Gooch, with Cook, with Andy Flower, all fine players of spin.

The first step, however, is to accept reality. Sadly, Pietersen is no nearer to doing that than he was to picking Ojha after a measly six balls yesterday.

San Marino expecting defeat against England

San Marino ready for defeat but will take reward from appearing at Wembley



21:30 GMT, 11 October 2012

San Marino manager Giampaolo Mazza is under no illusions. He knows his team will be beaten at Wembley on Friday and his task is to keep the score down.

It is a rare confession on the eve of any game but San Marino are a bunch of part-timers ranked by FIFA as the worst in the world. Players are not paid to represent their national team and the FA do not bother with a bonus system as they never win.

Anticipation: San Marino are expecting defeat

Anticipation: San Marino are expecting defeat

Get ready for goals

4 – In the previous two matches against San Marino, an English player has scored four goals (David Platt and Ian Wright). The aggregate score is 13-1.

29 – In their last five matches, San Marino have scored two goals and conceded 29. They lost all five.

14 – San Marino have scored only once in their last 14 World Cup qualifying matches.

23 – In 23 away qualifiers, San Marino have earned one draw (v Latvia in 2001) and lost 22.

‘We’re just normal guys who play for the love of football,’ said 26-year-old goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini, who has conceded 114 goals in 24 games, including an own goal from his twin Davide.

‘We play for free. The rewards for us will be the chance to play at Wembley Stadium. That’s the big pay day. I cannot wait.

'We go out on the pitch with our heads held high and we want to leave with our heads held high. We have to be the best we can be but we know that will not be enough.

'The result is not a number for us. It is about staying on the pitch and playing.’

Simoncini is studying for a degree in
computing, having spent eight years as a professional at clubs including
Cesena and Modena without making the grade.

‘One thing for certain is that we
will lose,’ said Mazza. ‘The number of goals depends on our performances
and the last minutes when we sometimes start to tire.

'The result is not what matters,
otherwise I wouldn’t be coach for 14 years. We are a small country but
will do our best. We will play a defensive game, try to close the spaces
and limit the chances.’

English welcome: San Marino manager Giampaolo Mazza and his team take shelter and have a discussion (below)

English welcome: San Marino manager Giampaolo Mazza and his team take shelter and have a discussion (below)

San Marino team meeting

The San Marino boss does not accept the argument that his team do not belong in the World Cup, or should have to pre-qualify. ‘San Marino is an independent state and has every right to take part,’ said Mazza. ‘Everyone has to go through the preliminaries.’

San Marino’s most famous player and top scorer Andy Selva is in the squad after a year out to have a back operation. He played for his club last weekend and is not fit to start but will be on the bench as a mark of respect for his service.

London 2012 Olympics cycling: Phillip Hindes defended

Cycling chief quizzed over 'cheat' furore as Hindes casts shadow over gold medal



22:59 GMT, 3 August 2012

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British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford was forced to defend young sprinter Philip Hindes after the gold medallist admitted deliberately taking a fall during Thursday’s team sprint heats.

Hindes, 19, was locked away in the Athletes’ Village for most of the day and looked like a young man with plenty on his mind when he later watched Great Britain claim two more golds at the Velodrome — an impression confirmed as he left the arena.

‘I don’t want to talk about it really. I have to live with it, but today has been OK,’ he said, before politely making his excuses and turning away, clearly aware of the maelstrom of comment his misguided confession had unleashed.

Scroll down for video

Fall guy: Hindes sprawls on the track

Fall guy: Philip Hindes sprawls on the track

But Brailsford described the teenager’s actions — revealed by Sportsmail on Friday — as a shield to hide his embarrassment.

Brailsford said: ‘Phil came out, had a bit of a mechanical and hit the deck. You get a restart and that’s that, no problem really. It’s his first Olympics, he had an issue and he crashed. It’s always a bit embarrassing.

‘I think there was a bit of bravado there in the heat of the moment. You can see Jason (Kenny) and Chris’s (Hoy) faces when he said it. But you’ve got to give him a bit of credit. He stepped up and delivered two fantastic performances and two world records.’

Team GB sprint coach Jan van Eijden admitted the rules governing restarts were discussed in a team meeting to ensure that Hindes, Kenny and Hoy were aware of the regulations prior to the race.

Van Eijden said: ‘We always say to the riders, “These are the rules”, before a competition. I imagine that every other nation does the same. It is important that you try to get everything right. We try to go into every detail.

Moment of controversy: Philip Hindes veers off the track as he leads off Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy

Moment of controversy: Hindes veers off the track

‘Philip just tried too hard on the first lap. He tried so hard to get out of the gate that he lifted the front wheel. That he managed to get so far was quite amazing. Even on the restart he was really wobbly, and only when we got to the second ride did he settle in. Then he delivered.’

There was no discord among Britain’s rivals yesterday, although French team technical director Isabelle Gautheron believes the ambiguous wording of the rules on restarts needs to be amended.

She said: ‘The team sprint regulations should be changed. We need more clarity, but the best team won. They beat the world record twice, they deserved their victory. They played with the rules.’

Official support came from the IOC, who confirmed Britain will keep their gold medal — Hoy’s fifth — and cycling’s governing body, the UCI, for whom a spokesman said: ‘We do not have any reason to question the result of the race.’

Though born and brought up in Germany, Hindes — who has an English father — moved to Britain in 2010 to further his career by joining British cycling.

VIDEO: Philip Hindes amazed by his gold medal insists he crashed…


Andre Masiello match-fixing confession leaked

Italian football rocked again after Atlanta defender's match-fixing confession leaked



17:11 GMT, 2 April 2012

A confession made by Atalanta defender Andrea Masiello relating to his involvement in match-fixing has been leaked.

Masiello was arrested in Bari for his suspected involvement on Sunday night but his admission, handed to prosecutors on March 28, reveals he admits to rigging a game which cost Bari their Serie A status.

Italian Masiello played for Bari between 2008 and 2011 and a string of fixtures he starred in for his former club, recently came under scrutiny.

Mock sadness: Andrea Masiello reacts after scoring the own-goal that cemented Bari's relegation

Mock sadness: Andrea Masiello reacts after scoring the own-goal that cemented Bari's relegation

The central focus of the scandal is Bari’s derby game against Lecce in which Masiello admits to have pocketed 300,000 euros by scoring an own goal to guarantee relegation.

'I want to put on record when the score was 1-0, I took advantage of an opportunity to cement the final outcome of the defeat,' he said in his statement, published in Corriere del Mezzogiorno.

The former Biancorossi man was brought in for questioning in January and during cross-examination admitted to having accepted match-fixing payments.

But at that time, he claimed to have been backed into a corner by a 'forceful mafia'.

With match-fixing rings reportedly piling the pressure onto an already broken dressing room, Masiello relented.

He said: 'They offered me 80,000 euro ahead of the match against Palermo and I took the money.

Cross: Prosecutor Antonio Laudati talks about the scandal

Cross: Prosecutor Antonio Laudati talks about the scandal

'But then I tried to return it. I was scared and then I was certainly not alone.'

He also expressed a fear of being arrested.

During police investigations known as Scommessopoli, games against Palermo, Sampdoria, Chievo, Bologna and Udinese were also ruled to have been illegally fixed.

Masiello has been accused of rigging Bari’s final games prior to their relegation in 2009/10, and proactively selling information to gambling rings.

Pierpaolo Marino, Atalanta’s technical director expressed his disappointment to hear of his player’s apprehension and confirmed his immediate suspension.

'We have been damaged by the news,” he told Sky Sports Italia.

Faker: Masiello's confession was leaked

Faker: Masiello's confession was leaked

'I want to stress how these accusations relate to [Masiello’s] time as a Bari player.

'In these cases, we cannot teach morals, but we have suspended him.

'Football betting is a blight on the credibility of the system, so hats off to those investigating in the hope all the bad apples are weeded out and we can counsel those players who have inexplicably become involved.'

Masiello’s teammates at Bari Daniele Portanova, Alessandro Parisi, Simone Bentivoglio, Marco Rossi, Abdelkader Ghezzal, Marco Esposito, Antonio Bellavista and Nicola Belmonte are also on the authorities’ radar.

Former Italy internationals Giuseppe Signori and Cristiano Doni have previously been arrested for their alleged involvement.

Italy’s organised crime problem is particularly rife in Bari, where criminals have closed in on the football industry and strangled it with their own tyrannical agenda.

Bari-based businessman Onofrio De Benedictis, known locally as ‘il Pescatore’ as owner of a popular seafood restaurant, and associates Nico De Tullio and Francesco De Napoli are believed to be behind the match rigging.

Craig Whyte forced to admit he bought Rangers with fans" money

Told you so! Sportsmail revealed he bought Rangers with fans' money… now Whyte finally admits the truth

Craig Whyte has been forced into a humiliating climb-down after admitting Sportsmail's revelations that he used future season- ticket money to fund his takeover of Rangers.

His full-blown confession followed our story on Tuesday outlining how Whyte convinced London-based Ticketus to advance him 24.4million last April – enabling him to clear the Ibrox club's 18m debt and buy it for just 1 from Sir David Murray.

After coming under intense pres sure, the discredited owner duly issued a 1,400-word statement just after 4pm conceding that he had, in fact, flogged future seats to gain control of Rangers last May, a charge he had repeatedly denied since the Ticketus issue first emerged last summer.

Question marks: Craig Whyte financial dealings are under scrutiny

Question marks: Craig Whyte financial dealings are under scrutiny

A damning statement from administrators Duff & Phelps followed 36 minutes later, confirming that 18m of the 'missing' Ticketus cash had been transferred directly to Lloyds Banking Group to pay the club's outstanding debt and allowing Whyte to succeed Murray.

The latest twist came on yet another astonishing day for the ailing SPL champions as:

* Furious fans accused Whyte of a campaign of deception. lThe SFA appointed Lockerbie bombing appeal judge Lord William Nimmo Smith to chair its independent inquiry into the affair.

* Administrators Duff & Phelps announced their own internal investigation into 'all the circumstances' surrounding Whyte's takeover was now under way.

David Whitehouse, joint administrator
at Duff & Phelps, said: 'Since being appointed administrators last
week, there has been widespread concern raised with us, not least by
Rangers supporters and season-ticket holders, about the agreement
between the club and Ticketus.

information received, it is now apparent that the proceeds from the
Ticketus arrangements amounted initially to a sum in the region of 20m
plus VAT. Subsequently, 18m was transferred to the Lloyds Banking

'The application of the remainder of these proceeds is subject to further examination.

are now investigating all the circumstances surrounding both the
purchase of the majority shareholding in Rangers Football Club plc and
the flow of funds which stemmed from the transaction and were intended
to fulfil the purchasers' obligations at the time of the sale.

'We cannot comment further on these matters while enquiries continue.'

Uncertain future: Rangers fans show their support for their crisis club

Uncertain future: Rangers fans show their support for their crisis club

who revealed in his statement that he will not continue as chairman
post-restructuring, said of the controversial season-ticket deal: 'The
arrangement with Ticketus – which was a three-season deal not four, as
has been reported – was originally to provide additional working capital
as had been the case previously under the old board.

'My corporate advisors came to me with the proposition that it was
entirely possible, as well as highly beneficial, to negotiate a deal
with Ticketus that would allow us to complete the takeover and maximise
working capital for the club's day-to-day business.

Ticketus deal was by far the best way to protect the club given the
circumstances in that they have no security over any assets.

only person at risk from the deal is me personally because I gave
Ticketus personal and corporate guarantees underwriting their
investment; the club and the fans are fully protected.

'In terms of exposure, I am personally on the line for 27.5m in guarantees and cash.

is a very substantial commitment to the football club of which I have
been a supporter since I was a boy and I dearly wish to see through this
crisis so that Rangers emerge as a financially fitter and stronger

Tough times: Manager Ally McCoist has backed calls for a full investigation

Tough times: Manager Ally McCoist has backed calls for a full investigation

'I am the
biggest stakeholder in Rangers and I face huge financial losses
personally if the restructuring fails or is not allowed to proceed.'

when Whyte was asked as recently as February 5 where the ticket money
had gone, he told a Sunday newspaper: 'I have nothing to apologise for.
Believe me, every single penny of the Ticketus money has stayed in the

In a
humiliating U-turn, however, Tuesday's statement's continued: 'I regret
not making the arrangements more transparent but, at the time, I
regarded it, as I do all my other business dealings, as a confidential
transaction. In retrospect, I should have been completely open about

With a closing
reference which echoed manager Ally McCoist's recent rallying call to
the supporters following the club's descent into administration, Whyte
added: 'I will admit there have been times when I wished that I had
never entertained the idea of taking over Rangers. But I am a Rangers
fan and, like other Rangers fans, I don't do walking away.'

LONDON 2012: Victoria Pendleton fears failure at Olympics

Nothing I”ve done will matter if I don”t win in London: Olympic gold and eight world titles but Pendleton fears failure in 2012

/12/31/article-2080727-0F34473800000578-619_468x292.jpg” width=”468″ height=”292″ alt=”Feeling a chill: Pendleton says her gold medals and world titles will count for nothing if she fails at the London Olympics” class=”blkBorder” />

Feeling a chill: Pendleton says her gold medals and world titles will count for nothing if she fails at the London Olympics

“But London isn”t just any old Olympics; it”s the most important of all Olympic Games for British athletes. More people will be watching in Britain than ever before. More people will be paying attention to what”s been invested: time, effort, energy and money.

“You feel you have to do well and you haven”t got any control of this daunting thing going on. You can train hard, you can give everything you”ve got on the day. But you can”t control the outcome and you”re never going to feel any more pressure than in that moment.

Looking forward: Pendleton is preparing for glory at London 2012

Looking forward: Pendleton is preparing for glory at London 2012

“My mum is always telling me, “You are an Olympic champion and nobody can take that away from you”. Yet it still feels that nothing else you have ever done matters. Only what happens at the London Olympics will truly matter.”

At 31, Pendleton is a woman who dares to bare her soul. To her, losing is anathema.

She is driven to win because she is frightened of the consequences of failure. “I”m a quiet achiever, not cut out for this,” she said.

“I am not someone necessarily rewarded by my own performance. I am always striving to do better, so I am never satisfied.”

On track for glory: Pendleton at the Olympic Velodrome

On track for glory: Pendleton at the Olympic Velodrome

From the grand dame of track cycling, the confession is stark and revealing. “I”ve done this for so long because I am good at it, not because it”s my dream and really fulfils me as a human being,” said Pendleton.

“I feel great when I win but it”s not the whole truth. For the last 10 years, I”ve been at the top of my sport, but it”s hard to maintain. As the years pass, the rewards feel less because you have already done it before.

But I still push myself as I detest losing.” Pendleton”s career is most easily characterised by her appearances at the last two Olympic Games.

In Athens, she cried for her lack of success; in Beijing, she could not cry, as much as she wanted to, and is embarrassed by photographs showing her smirking when they played the National Anthem in her honour as a gold medal hung from her neck like a piece of priceless jewellery.

Golden girl: Pendleton celebrates winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Golden girl: Pendleton celebrates winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

“All I felt was a huge relief,” she recalled. Britain “s magnificent cyclists, who will all be burdened by the weight of their own history in London, brought home eight of the 19 gold medals Team GB won in Beijing.

“I did well because, as one of the last to race, I was afraid of fading into the background if I didn”t win when the team had done so brilliantly,” Pendleton said.

“I wanted to feel I belonged. But you never prepare yourself for the day after. Instead, you are confronted by a range of questions: Where am I going What am I doing Do I feel good about this Am I missing something” The years since Beijing have provided few answers for Pendleton. “It”s probably been the worst three years of my life,” she said.

Her Australian boyfriend, Scott Gardner, a sports scientist, who is now her fianc, felt obliged to leave the cycling team after the Games to avoid a conflict of interest.

“My relationship with Scott caused huge disruptions and other riders were bitter that he left as he was a great part of the team,” she said.

“It”s been a real struggle.” Her analysis must be put in the perspective of an Olympic champion accustomed to winning – indeed expected to win.

At her most recent competition, the European Championships in Holland in late autumn, Pendleton collected gold medals in the team sprint with Jess Varnish, her heir apparent, and in the keirin.

Cycling enthusiasts: Pendleton talks to Mayor of London Boris Johnson at the Olympic velodrome

Cycling enthusiasts: Pendleton talks to Mayor of London Boris Johnson at the Olympic velodrome

But it was the individual sprint, her signature race yet one in which she failed to make the final, that attracted most attention, not least from her rivals.

“The word on the street is I have given up on the sprint to concentrate on the other two events in London,” she said, raising her eyebrows at such a preposterous thought.

Admittedly, she felt sufficiently concerned in Apeldoorn to address the issue with Dave Brailsford, the team”s performance director. “Am I too old for this” she asked him.

“The truth is I was feeling some injuries then, but I have recovered.” Even so, Pendleton lifted a veil on the psychological, as well as physical, demands placed on the team by the management when she said: “I came away from the Europeans with two gold medals out of three, but did I get a pat on the back No.

Fully focused: Pendleton only has eyes for a gold medal at the London Games

Fully focused: Pendleton only has eyes for a gold medal at the London Games

“The management expect gold all the way; that”s no way to live. It”s almost an unrealistic expectation.”

Yet to deny that she is focused on winning the individual sprint gold for a second time would be a betrayal of her instincts. “I want to defend my title,” she said.

“The sprint is a form of combat and I like that.” In London, Pendleton is expected to compete in the three events she raced in Holland.

She will rehearse those races in London”s Olympic Velodrome in a World Cup event next month but Pendleton is old enough and wise enough to treat her results with suspicion. She is training to peak in August, not mid-winter.

Gardner is back in her corner, at least. “Scott looks after my sports science in Manchester on a part-time basis, but we try not to talk shop when we are at home together,” she said.

A year to remember: Pendleton knows only a gold medal will stop her feeling like a failure in London

A year to remember: Pendleton knows only a gold medal will stop her feeling like a failure in London

“My key performance indicators are better than at any time in the past three years.

“I”d say I was ahead of where I was before Beijing – but I need to be. Yet I know I”m still in a strength building block and don”t have the explosive power I will need.

I will stick to my guns in February and, while it”s hard losing, I won”t sacrifice my Olympic preparation. The most important aspect of the test event in London is for us to view it as a big learning experience.”

Personal accolades: Pendleton was awarded an MBE in 2009

Personal accolades: Pendleton was awarded an MBE in 2009

Pendleton feels comfortable under the spotlight. It is hard, though, to envisage the woman dressed to meet us in over-the-knee black leather boots, leggings and short jacket, with her raven-black hair tumbling down her back, as the same athlete who goes to work in Lycra and a crash helmet from Star Wars.

Her candour, coupled with an easy, flirtatious manner in front of a camera, has brought her modelling assignments, most recently for Harper”s Bazaar.

She is also perfectly cast as the face of a new campaign promoting the Hovis Wholemeal Gold Start Challenge, which aims to help people become healthier by cutting out snacks.

Monday may be a holiday, but Pendleton will be in the gym at the Manchester Velodrome as usual.

Flying the flag: Pendleton celebrates in Beijing

Flying the flag: Pendleton celebrates in Beijing

Her mission may be occasionally confused by the maelstrom of emotions that course through her body, but she will not be easily distracted from her ambition to win in London.

For there will not be another chance. “After the Games I am taking at least a year out from competing, perhaps stopping all together,” said Pendleton.

“This is just a stepping stone on my journey. I don”t know where it”s leading me, but I know I am destined to do something that will fulfil me as a person. I am not embarrassed that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I”ve always been very honest and open.

“I”d love to be cool, calm and collected; emotionless and mysterious. But I haven”t got the acting skills to do that! In five, 10 years” time, my mum says I”ll look back and realise I did rather well.

Out in front: Pendleton leads the way in Beijing

Out in front: Pendleton leads the way in Beijing

“I do wish I could have appreciated it more at this time, but when you are focusing on the next goal, on getting better, you”re never given five minutes to reflect.”

That time will arrive, but only after the hard, wintry days of the new year have turned to summer.

“I want to be happy but it”s hard knowing I still want to win more, at the Olympics most of all,” she said. “I”m not done but I hope that, if I don”t succeed, people won”t forget me.”

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Victoria Pendleton promotes the Hovis Wholemeal Gold Start Challenge campaign. Go to: facebook.com/hovisbakery for more information