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‘Beat me if you can’ - confident Kristina Vogel issues warning to Hong Kong’s Sarah Lee

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 August, 2016, 5:50am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 August, 2016, 7:22am

German star Kristina Vogel has offered a simple piece of advice to Hong Kong’s Sarah Lee Wai-sze and other track cycling sprint rivals in their quest for a medal – “get past me”.

The 25-year-old is competing in the keirin and sprint events – just like London keirin bronze medallist Lee – and has revealed that tactics play a secondary role to beating her. Speed, she says, is king.

“If you can get past me you are assured of winning a medal,” Vogel, the women’s team sprint gold medallist from 2012 was quoted as saying by German media. “It's as simple as that.

“I am equally motivated for every discipline. I cycle at full throttle every day, I hold nothing back. I'm not great when it comes to tactics, I just go for it,” added Vogel, the reigning keirin world champion.

“And I think that is the best thing you can do in my discipline. If I had a choice, then like to win gold in the sprint, because that is the pinnacle on the track. It would be great if it happened this year, but I still have the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, which will probably be my last Games.”

The keirin is on Saturday and each race involves six riders in a mass start battling to be first across the line. Apart from Lee, Vogel faces strong challenges from the powerful Chinese duo of Gong Jinjie and Zhong Tianshi, and Australian veteran Anna Meares.

Born in Kyrgyzstan, Vogel knows what it’s like to overcome the odds. In 2009 she was in a coma for two days after being hit by a car while training on the road. She was back on a bike within three months.

WATCH: Hong Kong's star cyclist Sarah Lee is set to shine at the Olympics again

Lee is hoping to improve on her keirin bronze from 2012 when she finished behind Britain’s Victoria Pendleton – now retired and in the cycling commentary box – and China’s Guo Shuang.

The defending sprint champion is Meares, who beat Pendleton and Guo for the title.

Lee is Hong Kong’s best hope of a medal at the Games in Rio and is barred from speaking to the media as she builds up to the race.

WATCH: golden moments on Day 6 at the Rio Olympics

Vogel also made it clear she is uncomfortable with the presence of Russian riders in the team sprint after they were cleared to compete in the Games amid a massive doping scandal in the country.

“I really don't feel like speaking about Russia,” she said. “What can I do? I have to compete against them one way or the other. But the Russians are not the only ones who could be cheating.

“Nobody really knows. As long as there is no positive test, there is nothing you can do. I just hope that Wada [the World Anti-Doping Agency] creates the same conditions in all countries.”

WATCH: relive the action involving Hong Kong athletes on Day 6 at the Rio Olympics