Victoria Pendleton was set to ride for keirin gold on day two of competition at the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome.
The 31-year-old was, together with Jess Varnish, eliminated from the two-woman, two-lap team sprint for a takeover infringement on day one of the track programme, leaving the duo in tears.
But Pendleton, who last won the keirin world title in 2007, responded in the event which begins behind a motorised Derny bike, progressing to the final with a supreme ride in the second round as she led from one and a half laps to go.
Clara Sanchez of France was second with China's Guo Shuang third to join Pendleton in the final.
Already there were world champion Anna Meares of Australia, Canada's Monique Sullivan and Hong Kong's Lee Wai Sze, who advanced from the first second-round heat.
The three losers from each heat fell into the race for seventh to 12th.