It was a step forward in a career which has produced a world hour record, a Commonwealth gold, and a handful of British titles on road and track, including lowering the 20-year old 25-mile time trial record of Beryl Burton.
Her semi-final appearance was the best progress a Britain made on the Atlanta track, but she was beaten by six seconds by Antonella Bellutti, of Italy who yesterday went on to win the gold, beating Marion Clignet of France by five seconds.
After missing bronze, McGregor's consolation is that she can take them on again in the World Championships in Manchester at the end of August. It will mark another step in her cycling education which started when a chronic Achilles tendon injury ended her fell running and triathlon appearances for Britain.
Brian Walton, of Canada, took the silver medal in the 40km points race with a powerful drive that gave him a maximum 10 points in the final scoring sprint.
That lifted the 1989 Milk Race winner from fourth and sent Australian Stuart O'Grady down to bronze in a final where the Italian Silvio Martinello added the Olympic gold to his world points title.
The German sprinter Jens Fiedler yesterday became the only Barcelona champion to successfully defend his title. He beat American favourite Marty Nothstein in the opening two rides of their best-of-three sprint final.
When Fielder took the first ride on a photo-finish verdict the crowd chanted incessantly for Nothstein, but he could not match the German's finishing power in their second meeting.
The first ride in the bronze medal match also called on the judges to study the finishing picture. They gave it to Canadian Curt Harnett. Inspired by that he went on to beat former world champion Gary Neiwand, of Australia, in the second ride.Reuse content