Ethan Hayter and Matt Walls won a spectacular silver in a breathless men’s Madison race at the Tokyo Olympics, to capture the 11th medal of these Games for the Great Britain Cycling Team.
It was the sixth track medal taken by GB in the Izu Velodrome and a second for Walls, who won the men’s omnium earlier in the week.
Jack Carlin and Jason Kenny also remain in contention for medals in the keirin after reaching Sunday’s quarter-finals.
But the Madison provided the highlight of the day for GB with Hayter and Walls medalling in thrilling fashion by taking the last of the 20 sprints, which carried double points, to move level with France in second place on 40 points, just three behind gold medallists Denmark.
That earned GB the silver, ahead of France on count back, and was just reward for their efforts over the gruelling 200-lap, 50km race.
“I was cooked halfway in,” admitted 23-year-old Walls. “But we managed to get a bit of gas at the end to finish it off. It was literally everything we had.
“It’s been an incredible week. It’s a shame we couldn’t get a gold today but we’re still happy coming away with the silver. It’s still a good achievement.”
GB took the lead after the fifth of the 20 sprints that took place every 10 laps and held a medal position for the rest of the race.
But with Belgium trying to gain an extra lap in the closing stages, the bronze medal position held by the British was under threat - until their late amazing effort saw them catch the Belgians and actually move up a place.
Briefly, the British pair looked like they might even gain a lap which would have won them gold.
“We started off on the front to try and get a bit of a head start and also stay out of trouble,” said Hayter, 22. “I started to suffer first then Matt did but we had a good run and recovered to finish with a flourish, and almost won.”
In the keirin, defending Olympic champion Kenny had to advance through the repechage after finishing fourth in the first round heat but the veteran looked dominant in his second race, taking the lead at the bell and holding on for a comfortable victory.
Carlin won through to the quarter-finals in an eventful heat which was re-run due to a crash. Even the second running involved a rider crashing out although the young Scot remained out of trouble to win his heat.
“The legs are good but it was absolute chaos, I’m just glad to be in one piece,” said Carlin.
“Having a second run wasn’t ideal. I’ve never seen that in a keirin before, they normally let it finish. But that’s keirin racing, there was a lot of ‘argy-bargy’ but I think everyone is wanting it so badly, they’re prepared to do anything.”
In the women’s sprint, Katy Marchant rode superbly to beat Canada’s Lauriane Genest in the 1/8 round but was beaten 2-0 in the best-of-three quarter-final ride against Lee Wai Sze of Hong Kong. She will ride on Sunday in the race to decide the fifth to eighth places.