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London 2012 Olympics cycling: Laura Trott wins second omnium event to sit top at halfway stage

Trott remains on track to add to Great Britain's cycling medal haul as she leads omnium at halfway stage

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UPDATED:

23:59 GMT, 6 August 2012

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Laura Trott is on course to become a double Olympic champion at the ridiculously tender age of 20.

Fresh-faced she may be – and a blonde, not the brunette we have seen before – yet the girl from Essex rode with such maturity in the opening three disciplines of the women’s omnium to suggest that Tuesday’s final three events – the 3,000m pursuit, the scratch race and a 500m time trial – could see her add a solo gold medal to that won in the women’s team pursuit.

It is all becoming bewilderingly straightforward that there appears to be no outcome possible other than British gold in practically every event.

Unstoppable: Laura Trott powered her way to the top of the omnium table at the half way stage

Unstoppable: Laura Trott powered her way to the top of the omnium table at the half way stage

Trott leads the omnium standings overnight, level on points with Sarah Hammer of the USA but ahead by virtue of having a faster aggregate time in the disciplines which are against the clock.

Her flying 250m lap was completed at a dizzying average speed of 40mph while her ability to spot every crisis point in the elimination race, in which the last rider across the line every second lap is called out, thrilled the 6,000 spectators.

Going for gold: Trott is looking add to Great Britain's tally of cycling medals

Going for gold: Trott is looking add to Great Britain's tally of cycling medals

They will expect to salute three more Olympic titles when the Velodrome opens for the final time on Tuesday, with Victoria Pendleton in the women’s individual sprint and Sir Chris Hoy’s tilt at Olympic immortality in the men’s keirin .

Victory for would surpass Sir Steve Redgrave’s five golds – a record for a Briton – although what further accolades are open to Hoy, who already possesses a knighthood and the hearts of a nation, is a mystery.

London 2012 Olympic Cycling: Ed Clancy wins omnium bronze medal

Clancy wins omnium bronze medal after strong finish in time trial

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UPDATED:

18:01 GMT, 5 August 2012

Ed Clancy claimed bronze in the men's omnium as Great Britain missed out on Olympic gold for just a second time at the London 2012 velodrome, with Denmark's Lasse Hansen taking the title.

On a day when Jason Kenny and Victoria Pendleton made serene progress in the men's and women's sprint competitions, Olympic team pursuit champion Clancy settled for third, but hailed the crowd after rising from fifth place with one discipline to go in the six-discipline event.

Clancy, the 2010 world omnium champion, won two of the events and finished second in a third, but ultimately fell short of the title due to two disappointing displays in the bunch races.

Medal won: Ed Clancy did enough to secure bronze

Medal won: Ed Clancy did enough to secure bronze

Britain had won four of the five events in the previous three days of competition – missing out only in the women's team sprint – and were well placed in tomorrow's only medal event, with Kenny untroubled in advancing to the last four of the men's sprint.

Clancy's competition was varied – he won the flying lap on day one, finished 11th in the points race and fifth in the elimination race to sit fourth at the midway point overnight.

The 27-year-old Yorkshireman moved up to second with second place in the four-kilometre individual pursuit, but fell four points off the pace with a 10th-place finish in the penultimate event, the 15km (60 lap) scratch race.

On track: Ed Clancy competes for Great Britain

On track: Ed Clancy competes for Great Britain

Clancy clocked one minute 00.981
seconds to win the final discipline, the one-kilometre time-trial. It
was a sensational time in the event which was removed as a stand-alone
event from the programme after Sir Chris Hoy won in Athens in 2004 in
1min 00.711secs.

If rumours the kilo could return for
Rio de Janeiro in 2016, possibly at the expense of the omnium, are true,
Clancy would be well placed.

Ireland's Martyn Irvine finished 11th in the final event, clocking 1:04.558, to place 13th overall.

In the mix: Clancy (centre) competes in the Men's Omnium

In the mix: Clancy (centre) competes in the Men's Omnium

London 2012 Olympics: Victoria Pendleton breaks record in women"s sprint

Queen Victoria returns to the track in style as cycling ace smashes Olympic record

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UPDATED:

11:03 GMT, 5 August 2012

Victoria Pendleton began her bid for a third and final Olympic gold in sensational fashion in qualifying for the women's sprint at the London 2012 velodrome.

The 31-year-old won the event in Beijing four years' ago when it was the only title available to her and on Friday triumphed in the keirin, a new event to the Games programme.

World champion Pendleton opened her final competition before retirement with an Olympic record of 10.724 seconds, qualifying quickest ahead of perennial rival Anna Meares of Australia, who was second in 10.805secs.

Home favourite: Pendleton is bidding for her second gold of the Games

Home favourite: Pendleton is bidding for her second gold of the Games

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The duo were the only riders to dip beneath 11 seconds, with Pendleton gaining top seeding for the knockout rounds as she began her bid to sign off her career on Tuesday with victory.

China's Guo Shuang was third in 11.020, with world record holder Kristina Vogel of Germany fourth in 11.027. Ed Clancy was second with two events remaining in the omnium.

With the 15km scratch race and one-kilometre time-trial to come in the day's only medal event at the velodrome, world champion Glenn O'Shea of Australia led on 17 points, with Clancy two points behind.

Lasse Hansen of Denmark was third, Elia Viviani of Italy fourth on 20 points and France's Bryan Coquard fifth on 22 points. Clancy was fourth overnight after three events, but the second and final day of the six-discipline event featured two events against the clock in which he thrives.

In the first, the four-kilometre pursuit, the 2010 world champion, twice an Olympic team pursuit gold medallist, clocked four minutes 20.853 seconds to place second in the event and move up to second overall.

Hansen finished in 4mins 20.674secs to win the discipline, with O'Shea third in 4:24.811.

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McIlroy finds form thanks to some home comforts… and a visit from Wozniacki

McIlroy finds form thanks to some home comforts… and a visit from Wozniacki

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UPDATED:

20:53 GMT, 28 June 2012

Like young lovers throughout the ages,
Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki turned a blind eye to all the
criticism on Thursday.

More speculation that their blossoming romance was doing little for their careers was greeted by a
public display of togetherness at the Irish Open at Royal Portrush.

Enlarge

Team McIlroy: Rory, dad Gerry and Wozniacki (left)

Team McIlroy: Rory, dad Gerry and Wozniacki (left)

Caroline Wozniacki (L) walks with her boyfriend Rory McIlroy (R) and his father Gerry McIlroy (C)

'How did you get inside the ropes' asked a smiling McIlroy of Wozniacki, down the opening hole. The former tennis world No 1, whose poor form continued with a first-round defeat at Wimbledon, might have temporarily lost her forehand but clearly not her resourcefulness.

Swapping one great sporting stage for another appeared to do Wozniacki the world of good. While her boyfriend knocked in a birdie putt at the second she happily signed autographs and chatted with the locals.

McIlroy's parents are clearly taken with her. With one armband between them, mum Rosie kept her company for a few holes before giving way to dad Gerry.

'What's your lowest score round here' I asked Gerry – a scratch golfer himself, back in the day – down the fifth. Clearly aware that Rory once carded a 61, Wozniacki quickly interjected. 'A 62, Gerry' she asked, smiling.

Watch the birdie: McIlroy tees off at the 1st watched by Martin McGuiness (second left), the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and Peter Robinson, the First Minister of Northern Ireland

Watch the birdie: McIlroy tees off at the 1st watched by Martin McGuiness (second left), the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and Peter Robinson, the First Minister of Northern Ireland

Relaxed: Wozniaki watches the action

Relaxed: Wozniaki watches the action

At the sixth, there was a sight you don't see every day. McIlroy was playing one way and the photographers all had their cameras trained in the opposite direction.

Anyone who knows this gorgeous par three will have an inkling why. There was Wozniacki behind the tee, with the Atlantic Ocean in the background. Does it get any better for a cameraman than sun, sea, and a pretty blonde

So Wozniacki showed up here and so, too, did glimpses of the real Rory.

He came home to Northern Ireland having missed four of his last five halfway cuts but here, before a sell-out 27,000 crowd, were plenty of signs that the good times will soon return, both on the course and off it.

Alas, the sun didn't last very long. Play was suspended for almost two hours owing to a thunderstorm, splitting McIlroy's round almost equally in half. A couple of late three-putts turned a good 68 into a respectable two-under 70.

Off course: Wozniacki had suffered an early exit from Wimbledon

Off course: Wozniacki had suffered an early exit from Wimbledon

A slow-running links and holding greens thanks to all the rain, together with little wind, proved a mouth-watering combination for some of Europe's finest. Of the 69 players out in the first wave of play, only 17 failed to break par.

Best of all were the 65s composed by Frenchman Gregory Bourdy and Jeev Milkha Singh, the first Indian golfer to make the European Tour. It can't be easy growing up being the son of India's most famous athlete – Milkha Singh's rise from abject poverty to win a gold medal at the 1968 Commonwealth Games has been made into a Bollywood movie – but gentleman Jeev can be proud of a pioneering career of his own that has yielded 19 victories to date.

Singh is staying with Portrush patriarch Darren Clarke, who gave him a 21-year-old bottle of malt, made down the road at Bushmills. 'I'm going to hold on to it and share it with my dad when I get home,' said Singh.

Unlike McIlroy, Clarke was grateful for the break in play, grabbing three birdies when he returned for a 71, the same score as fellow Portrush native Graeme McDowell.

Best Irish score, however, didn't belong to one of the friends from the north but the renaissance man from the south, Padraig Harrington. Fourth at the US Open, he's growing rapidly in confidence. Get a bet on him for The Open at Lytham now, before his price comes down rapidly.

Euro 2012: England missed Paul Scholes, says Michael Owen

England need new style of football… and they missed Scholes, says Owen

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UPDATED:

06:54 GMT, 25 June 2012

Michael Owen suggested technical shortcomings and the absence of Paul Scholes were the keys to England's exit from Euro 2012 after their penalty shoot-out loss to Italy.

Although it came down to spot-kicks in the end, England could not argue as they had been second best while holding Italy in a goalless draw for 120 minutes.

Owen, a free agent after leaving Manchester United this summer, took to Twitter after the game to lament the absence of his former Old Trafford team-mate Scholes.

Pir-less: The Italian midfielder taught England a lesson in Kiev

Pir-less: The Italian midfielder taught England a lesson in Kiev

Euro 2012 email button

He wrote: 'Pirlo was awesome but we have a player of a similar age and equally as good. Unfortunately he wasn't there. Scholes.

'Easy for people to say “until we keep possession better we will never win anything”. We are not as good as others at doing that.

'We played to our strengths but are just not quite good enough. We were hoping to “do a Chelsea”. If you are not the best team then you have to find an alternative way to win.

'The other option is to forget results for a while and start from scratch playing a different style.

'Doubt we have the type of players to do
that though. Answer has to be to start coaching our youngsters a
different brand of football.'

Another
of Owen's former team-mates, Rio Ferdinand, sympathised with the
England players but again pointed to Italy's midfield master Andrea
Pirlo as the difference in the game, highlighting the Juventus
midfielder's audacious chipped penalty in the shoot-out.

Ferdinand tweeted: 'Wow, out on penalties again. Gutted for the lads man.

'On a pure footballing note Pirlo just put on a pure footballing master class + the penalty was too much'.

The once-capped Joey Barton was, as usual, not short of an opinion either, saying England deserved to come in second best.

Comeback trail: Scholes made a dramatic return to United last term

Comeback trail: Scholes made a dramatic return to United last term

'What is it with us and penalties Saved us from the embarrassment of a pasting off Germany in the next round' he wrote.

'Even the most biased Englishmen has to admit that Italy were much the better team over 120mins… sadbuttrue'.

Former England manager Graham Taylor
believes current boss Roy Hodgson got his tactics wrong and that a
shoot-out victory would not have been enough to paper over the cracks in
the performance.

'If we'd won, we'd all be excited and
we'd all be saying things but in the back of our minds would be the 120
minutes where we were the second best team,' Taylor told Five Live.

'You know as well as I do that
tournament football is all about winning, and if we'd won the shoot-out I
would be as excited as the next man.

'But in Andrea Pirlo you've mentioned
a player there who had the freedom of the pitch. This is difficult, but
it's one of the things I learned from my time and that is that we were
never going to win anything playing 4-4-2.

'You can't allow yourself to be
outnumbered in the middle of the pitch because they play through the
team and yesterday Pirlo had the freedom of the pitch, so I think from a
tactical point of view that was a mistake.'

You've got to hand it to him: own has heaped praise on former team-mate Scholes

You've got to hand it to him: own has heaped praise on former team-mate Scholes

Like Owen, Taylor suggested a change of culture is needed in English football.

'It's about style of play,' he said. 'They are very comfortable on the ball and apparently going nowhere for a lot of time. That is something we are getting more and more aware of, possession is nine-tenths of the law in that regard.

'Italy basically kept the ball from us and dominated possession and had more shots. England looked tired as the competition went on and we've seen that before in many respects. But the difference between our club football and our international football is there to be seen.'

Taylor also wondered if some of England's older players – not least captain Steven Gerrard – might now be reaching the end of their England careers.

'Steven Gerrard gave everything to the cause in this tournament, but time catches up with everyone, no matter how good you are, and it will be very interesting to see what happens in the next two years,' he said.

West Ham"s Gary O"Neil in Open Championship qualifier

O'Neil trades Irons for irons as West Ham star plays in Open Championship qualifier

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UPDATED:

07:58 GMT, 25 June 2012

West Ham's Gary O'Neil wants to give Rory McIlroy and Co a run for their money at the Open Championship next month as he fights for his place at Royal Lytham and St Annes in a regional qualifier.

The Hammers midfielder 29, is among 118 golfers battling it out at The London Golf Club in Kent and O'Neil hopes this could be the start of a new career when his professional playing days come to an end.

The former Portsmouth and Middlesbrough star plays off scratch, but conceded his chances of hitting the top of the pro tours is unlikely to materialse – although he is playing on home turf.

Swing the zone: O'Neil (right) plans a career in golf after football

Swing the zone: O'Neil (right) plans a career in golf after football

He told The Sun: 'I am realistic enough to know I need to improve a lot but if I could be a pro golfer when my football career ends it would definitely be something I would look to do.

'But my problem at the moment is consistency. My bad shots can go 50 yards off line and that will cost you two shots straightaway.

'I don't think there is anything major that needs changing, it's just about having the time to be able to practise.

He added: 'It's my home course so hopefully I'll feel quite comfortable. I know the course well but it is only 18 holes so you need to have a good day — but you never know.'

Laura Trott wins omnium gold at World Championships

Trott adds to British success story with omnium gold at World Championships

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UPDATED:

11:10 GMT, 7 April 2012

Laura Trott has won the Track Cycling World Championships omnium to take Great Britain's fifth gold medal of the final event before the London Olympics.

Trott held a two-point lead over Australia's Annette Edmondson entering the last of the event's six disciplines, the 500 metres time-trial, at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne.

The Briton and Edmondson were head to head on the track in the final heat of the two-lap race and Trott finished first in 35.173 seconds to earn overall victory by three points.

Leading lady: Laura Trott has won the gold medal in the omnium

Leading lady: Laura Trott has won the gold medal in the omnium

It was the first individual world title for the 19-year-old from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, who is now a three-time world champion, after being part of the British squad which successfully defended their three-kilometre team pursuit title on Thursday.

It was a performance which suggested Trott, who will be 20 on April 24, can win Olympic gold in the event in August.

I couldn't ask for much more coming into London,' she said.

'I didn't expect to win. I thought maybe I would pick up a medal, because I had been in the World Cups, but to win – what more can I ask for'

On top of the world: Laura Trott

On top of the world: Laura Trott

Trott finished second in the flying lap, eighth in the points race and won the elimination race on Friday, before today placing third in the 3km individual pursuit and 13th in the scratch race, marking Edmondson throughout.

And the 500m time-trial triumph sealed a sensational overall victory. Trott's unbeaten run in the omnium's final event dates back to December 2010, but she believes her performance in the penultimate event was key to victory.

Trott, who finished 13th, one place ahead of Edmondson in the scratch race, said: 'I wasn't so nervous before the 500, I was more nervous before the scratch race.

'It's such a hit-or-miss race you never know what's going to happen.

'My tactic was just to follow the Australian around all day long and when she started to move just make sure that I nipped her on the line – it was a closer race than I wanted it to be.

'In the 500 I just did what I always do. I nailed it.'