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Vicki Pendleton promises to keep the tears in check

Victoria Pendleton has responded to critics who suggest that her emotional nature will cause her to sob her way through Strictly Come Dancing. The former Olympic cyclist insists she can maintain self-control when she needs to.

"As a cyclist, I was always seen as quite vulnerable and emotional," she told TV Biz, "but there was a very good reason for that — my cycling career was my life. When you’ve made a lifetime commitment to something, it means so much to you that you are going to be emotionally affected at times. But I don’t want to be portrayed as that person forever."

She says she is well-equipped to deal with any criticism or setbacks. "I am thick-skinned and being judged on my dancing is not something that cuts that deep. And the more I perform, the more I hope people will see that I’m not some sobbing wreck.”

Her Olympic experience will be an asset, she feels, once her competitive instincts kick in. "Strictly definitely does put you in a situation where it is fight or flight — you’re either going to learn and get better or crumble. But feeling my heart pounding out of my chest and adrenalin coursing through my veins is something I’ve experienced many times before."

Her professional dancing partner Brendan Cole already feels that Pendleton has some advantages for the competition. "I’ve got high hopes for this young lady," he said. "She is determined and fantastic and we’ve been getting on really well. Physical strength is definitely not an issue — she can run circles around me in the gym. But it’s the theatrical side of things we have to work on."

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