A sensational Laura Trott won Great Britain Cycling Team’s first gold medal at the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships with victory in the scratch race in London.
The double Olympic champion’s medal was followed by a keirin bronze for Becky James before Great Britain’s men won team pursuit silver in a pulsating battle with Australia.
Trott put the disappointment of a fifth-place finish in team pursuit qualifying behind her with a stunning late surge to take the scratch race world title, her sixth rainbow jersey.
Thank you for all the lovely messages last night Loved every minute of it! Back to Team Pursuit with the girls today.. #letsdothis— Laura Trott (@LauraTrott31) March 4, 2016
"I'm so happy. I wasn't feeling that good but it just worked out perfectly," said Trott.
Catching the lead group with just two laps of the 40 left, the European scratch race champion attacked and held off the challenge of defending champion Kirsten Wild to thrill the capacity crowd at Lee Valley VeloPark.
Team pursuit clash
Sir Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull, Jon Dibben and Ed Clancy, returning from a back injury that has ruled him out for over six months, played their part in breath-taking battle with Australia.
Sam Welsford, Michael Hepburn, Callum Scotson and Miles Scotson gave Australia the early advantage before Britain fought back and in the final 1000m took a slender lead.
But in one final dramatic twist, Australia turned the tie to win in 3:53.856, over a second quicker than Britain.
Earlier Wiggins, Doull, Andy Tennant and Steven Burke had defeated Italy in 3:54.267 to book a place in the final - a ride that had a one stage threatened the world record set by Team GB at London 2012.
"Initially you're gutted - I am especially," Wiggins said.
"I said it was going to take a (three minutes) 52 (seconds) or world record to win here. They did that and we didn't.
"We were here to win. We knew it would take a time like that to win and we didn't produce it and they did.
"It's really disappointing. But at the same time, where we look where we come from, we're close.
"We knew we'd have a race on here and we're going to have a race in Rio, but I think we'll get over the line first in Rio."
James is back
Becky James marked her long-awaited worlds comeback with a wonderful display in the keirin to take bronze.
The 2013 double world champion surged through on the inside in the final lap of the final to finish behind winner Kristina Vogel and Australia’s Anna Meares.
The 24-year-old, who missed the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 world championships through a knee injury, had to come via the repechages in the first round.
Over the moon to be on the podium at the World Champs today!!!! Smiling from ear to ear! Thanks for the amazing support everyone xxxxx— Becky James (@BecksJames) March 3, 2016
She then held her own in the final lap of her second round heat for third place and a spot in the final behind China’s Guo Shuang and Kristina Vogel.
"It just doesn't feel real, I'm just over the moon to be back," said James.
"It's been a tough road, the world cups were tough for me this winter, but just to be back has been so good. I've seen improvements week in week out and managed to pull it out today."
Women’s team pursuit
Joanna Rowsell Shand, Laura Trott, Elinor Barker and Ciara Horne saw their hopes of a gold medal end as they faded to finish fifth place in qualifying.
Without Katie Archibald, who missed out through injury, the foursome can now only win a bronze at best as Rowsell Shand and Horne lost touch with Trott and Barker in the final 1000m.
The quartet had been well placed at the 3000m point but a run of eight consecutive podium finishes at world championships - dating back to 2008 and including six world titles - could now be at risk.
Great Britain will face China on Friday in round one where their fate will be decided. USA qualified fastest with Canada second, New Zealand third and defending champions Australia fourth.
After the race, Barker tweeted: “Took a big risk this morning, we were either going to qualify 1st or fall apart and unfortunately it was the latter. 5th in Tp qualifying.
“Dreams of gold at a home worlds unfortunately over for us, but we're still in contention for bronze and are not going down without a fight!”
Matt Crampton, 29, delivered a strong kilo ride in 1:01.669 for fifth place. Germany’s Joachim Eilers won gold in 1:00.042, setting a new velodrome record. Dutch rider Theo Bos took silver with France’s Quentin Lafargue colleting bronze.
The championships continue on Friday with the men’s sprint, omnium, points race and individual pursuit, and the women’s 500m time trial and team pursuit.