Pendleton: Relationship upset team-mates
Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton has admitted her relationship with a member of the British team's coaching staff almost caused resentment among her fellow cyclists.
Pendleton has since become engaged to Scott Gardner, an Australian sports scientist who worked for British Cycling in the build-up to the Beijing Olympics, where Pendleton won gold in the sprint.
The 31-year-old has told the Sunday Times she was instructed to keep her relationship with Gardner secret until after the 2008 Games, when Gardner left British Cycling but she says that caused resentment among her team-mates, who valued Gardner's work, and left her feeling isolated.
"We'd talk endlessly about things and realise how much we had in common," said Pendleton.
"We decided to give it a go and were advised to keep our relationship secret until after the Olympics.
"So we confined it to phone calls."
She added: "A lot of people felt very negatively about it; team-mates that blamed me because Scott wasn't there to help them and felt I was being selfish; members of staff who felt it was unprofessional, even though we never flaunted it...
"Having Scott in my life is way more important than riding round in circles.
"I would like to settle down with him for the rest of my life and it was like they expected me to pass that up."
Pendleton is in Melbourne ahead of next week's World Championships, the last major championship before London 2012, where the Bedfordshire rider is hoping to match Sir Chris Hoy's feat of winning three gold medals in one Olympics.