Victoria Pendleton has become the latest celebrity to exit Strictly Come Dancing, after finding herself in the dance-off for the first time this series.

The Olympic cycling champion had managed to avoid the bottom two in previous weeks despite finishing in the lower end of the scoreboard on a number of occasions – including last weekend when she was joint last.

However her luck ran out when she found herself up against cricketer Michael Vaughan in the dance-off – and after she had reprised her salsa with partner Brendan Cole and Michael had reprised his Argentine Tango with Natalie Lowe, the judges were unanimous in deciding who they wanted to save.

This couple completely smashed it and I thought were fantastic, Michael and Natalie,” said Craig Revel Horwood while Bruno Tonioli added, “I am going to save the first and foremost and that came from Michael and Natalie.”

Afterwards Victoria – who appeared visibly emotional following the result – admitted, “I would also have saved Michael and Natalie,” and added, “I think I need a holiday.”

“It’s been so much fun, I’ve loved every second of it,” she said, “It’s pushed me totally out of my comfort zone which I think you need to do in life – it’s been a fantastic experience.”

Brendan, meanwhile, said that Victoria had been a “diamond to work with”.

The gold medallist had gained a reputation for emotional outbursts on the show, and on Saturday night was seen sobbing backstage after her salsa to Robbie Williams’ Candy was criticised by the judges.

Craig told her, “The prop candy sticks had more fluidity,” while Bruno said, “When you stand still you are fabulous.”

She eventually finished bottom of the judges’ scoreboard with just 21 points for her efforts – the third time she had finished last.

Ir was the third week running that a celebrity had been eliminated after performing a salsa, with Richard Arnold and Fern Britton also succumbing after their efforts with the dance.

Six other stars – including favourites Denise Van Outen, Kimberley Walsh and Louis Smith – went straight through to next weekend on the strength of the public vote, while Dani Harmer, Lisa Riley and Nicky Byrne – who narrowly escaped elimination on last weekend’s show – also made it to next Saturday.