Houvenaghel unhappy as she settles for silver again
WENDY Houvenaghel couldn't upgrade her Olympic pursuit silver as she settled for the same medal at the track World Championships in Pruszkow.
DOWNBEAT: Wendy Houvenaghel admitted her disappointment as she claimed silver in the women's pursuit - to match the medal she won in Beijing over 200 days ago (Getty Images)
In the absence of team-mate and Olympic champion Rebecca Romero - watching from the commentary box - the 34-year Northern Ireland cyclist was full of confidence, qualifying for the final in the quickest time.
But New Zealand's Alison Shanks, who just missed out on a medal in Beijing, proved too strong as Houvenaghel couldn't back up her earlier performance, which would have been good enough for gold.
"Winning a medal is fantastic but when you've got your sights set on the gold, anything less is frustrating," said Houvenaghel.
"Nothing went wrong performance-wise, it's really just a case that she (Shanks) recovered better for the final than I did. I couldn't do any more."
Shanks follows in the tracks of fellow Kiwi Sarah Ulmer, a 2004 Olympic medallist and the last New Zealand woman to wear a rainbow jersey five years ago.
"It's the perfect way to bounce back from the disappointment of what happened at the Olympics," said Shanks.
"This is the world championships and it doesn't get much bigger. I knew it would be a very tough final against Wendy but I just had the edge."
There was also disappointment for Great Britain's Joanna Rowsell, who was beaten by Lithuania's Vilija Sereikaite in the bronze medal race.
However, the 20-year old still had reasons to be cheerful as she looks towards defending the team pursuit title she won in Manchester 12 months ago, alongside Houvenaghel and rising star Lizzie Armitstead.
"I was amazed by fourth, top eight was my target and anything else was just a big bonus," she said.
"It's my first individual ride at the World Championships and I've learned a lot from it going forward.
"We've got the team pursuit to look forward to now. We've got to get some rest but we'll be confident about our chances."