Busselton sprint cyclist Scott Sunderland’s quest for on Olympic medal was dashed in less than 44 seconds last night when the Australian team was beaten to bronze by Germany at the velodrome.
Competing at his first Games, Sunderland, Shane Perkins and Matt Glaetzer fell agonisingly short of a place on the podium when the German trio of Rene Enders, Robert Forstemann and Max Levy finished in 43.209sec to leave Australia trailing by 0.146sec.
But this was a night for Team GB and their royal leader, Sir Chris Hoy, who claimed his fifth gold medal from three Games campaigns, riding with Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes.
Britain were roared on by a screeching 6000-strong crowd to cross the line in 42.600secs to smash the world record they had set earlier in the night.
The French team of Gregory Bauge, Kevin Sireau and Michael D’Almeida crossed the line in 43.013 seconds to claim silver.
Fourth place was a bitter disappointment for the Australian trio, who had gone into the Games as world champions.
But Perkins, who will ride in the individual sprint starting tomorrow and the keirin on Tuesday, was gracious in defeat.
“"No one likes to come fourth, but we left our best rides out there," he said.
"Obviously being world champions you’re expected to at least medal. We were obviously beaten by some classy teams so well done to Great Britain, Germany and France.”
The British trio had the fans on their feet during qualifying when they romped through the three-lap distance in an Olympic record 43.065secs.
But there was even better to come when they powered their way to gold and set a new benchmark for the sport.
Hoy collected his fifth gold medal in his third Games having won three in Beijing and one in Athens.
“We knew it was possible,” he said. “This didn't just come out of the blue, but we knew if we kept it together, we had to have the best possible race. It's easier said than done... We had the full support of the team, and we nailed it."
Hoy also revealed how the team had been urged by head coach Dave Brailsford to take inspiration from Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins’ triumph in the time trial on Wednesday.
“It's just great to win here in the UK, in front of this crowd, it's phenomenal,” he said. “You cannot overstate what this means to us. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Dave said to us after Bradley's time trial that this was our chance, that you're never going to get this again, to enjoy it. We enjoyed it and we gave it our all.”