Sir Chris Hoy started his campaign today to become the greatest British Olympian ever with an impressive win in the first round of the keirin.
The Scot is attempting to win his sixth gold — a haul that would take him above rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave — and won his heat in fine style with a powerful sprint finish.
Once the derny — a moped that paces the riders before leaving the track two-and-a-half laps from the end of the eight-lap race — withdrew, Hoy burst to the front and only New Zealand’s Simon van Velthooven was able to go with him.
Juan Peralta Gascon, of Spain, led the chasing pack in a distant third, leaving Hoy and Van Velthooven to qualify automatically for this afternoon’s second round from the first of three heats with a repecharge for the losers.
Hoy is hot favourite to retain his title having lost only one major keirin competition — at the 2011 world championship — in the past four years.
The 36-year-old is now well placed to win gold on what could be another remarkable evening on the final night of track cycling competition at these Games.
Should Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, who will race in the individual sprint and omnium hope Laura Trott all prevail, Britain would win eight golds from 10 events, exceeding the seven they achieved in Beijing four years ago.