Right side of the tracks

Britain took gold in both and men's and women's sprints on the final day of Olympic track cycling today, while Argentina won the madison.

Chris Hoy of Great Britain celebrates the gold medal after defeating Jason Kenny of Great Britain in the men's sprint finals in the track cycling event at the Laoshan Velodrome.
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BEIJING // Britain took gold in both and men's and women's sprints on the final day of Olympic track cycling today, while Argentina won the madison. It was a third gold medal for Chris Hoy, who beat his compatriot Jason Kenny in the final of the men's sprint. Mickael Bourgain of France took the bronze. In the women's race, Victoria Pendleton easily defeated Anna Meares of Australia, the Athens bronze medallist. It was an expected victory, but still a victory of sorts for Meares. The gold medallist in the now-defunct 500 metre time-trial in Athens, has made a remarkable comeback from devastating injury. A crash in the keirin at a World Cup event in Los Angeles in January left Meares in a wheelchair with a fractured neck vertebra and a dislocated shoulder. She missed the World Championships and had an agonising wait to see if she would qualify for Beijing. Meares' was the only medal for the once-dominant Australian squad on the track. Guo Shuang of China took the bronze medal, to the cheers of the home crowd, defeating Willy Kanis of the Netherlands. It was a tortuous route to the podium for Guo. In the semi-finals she beat Meares in the first of the three races, but Meares came back for victory in the second. In the decider, Guo caught her pedal on the sloping track halfway through the race and fell, causing the race to be restarted. That race came down to a photo finish, which showed that Guo had crossed the line a few millimetres ahead of her opponent. She had barely started celebrating, however, when officials announced that she had been relegated for cutting off her opponent during the sprint and that Meares would advance to the final. In the madison, the 2004 World Championship-winning team of Juan Esteban Curuchet and Walter Fernando Perez of Argentina lapped the field early in the race and held on, also taking eight sprinting points. Spain took a last-gasp silver with two sprint points gained at the end of the 200-lap race to finish with seven. Russia took bronze, finishing with six. The three medallists were the only three teams able to take - and retain - a lap over the field. The World Championship-winning British team of Mark Cavendish and double gold-medallist Bradley Wiggins were strongly favoured, but their efforts to lap the field were unsuccessful. They finished ninth, a lap down with six sprinting points.

*AP