Great Britain's men's team pursuit squad were set to ride off for gold against perennial rivals Australia on the second day of competition at the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome after setting the second fastest time in history.
With Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins - Olympic champion in the event in 2008 - watching in the back straight, Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh and Steven Burke clocked three minutes 52.743 seconds in the first round, effectively a semi-final.
In qualifying on day one the British quartet finished in 3mins 52.499secs, but they only needed to beat Denmark to advance to the final, but they stated their intent clearly before the showdown with Australia.
Australia's Jack Bobridge, Glenn O'Shea, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn, the second fastest qualifiers, three seconds behind Britain, clocked 3:54.317, improving on their qualifying mark.
New Zealand (3:56.422) were set to meet Denmark (3:57.396) in the race for bronze.
Australia dropped O'Shea, their entrant in the omnium, which was set to begin on day three, with 500 metres to go in an apparent bid to conserve his energy, but may have left something in reserve for the final.
Britain, meanwhile, had the option of bringing Andy Tennant into the line-up.
Victoria Pendleton earlier recovered from her team sprint heartache to advance to the second round of the keirin at the first time of asking.
The 31-year-old from Stotfold was, 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.
Pendleton, who last won the keirin world title in 2007, showed a fine turn of pace in the second heat of the event, which begins behind a motorised Derny bike, to win from world champion Anna Meares of Australia.
Germany's Kristina Vogel, who won team sprint gold, and Ekaterina Gnidenko of Russia advanced from heat one and Guo Shuang of China and Simona Krupeckaite of Lithuania from heat three, with the remaining 12 riders falling into the repechage.
Hong Kong's Lee Wai Sze, Holland's Willy Kanis and Monique Sullivan of Canada advanced from the first repechage heat.
France's Clara Sanchez, Natasha Hansen of New Zealand and Venezuela's Daniela Grelui Larreal went through from the second repechage heat.
The six were set to meet Pendleton, Meares and the four others in the second round, competing for six places in the final.
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