New Zealand's magnificent day seven took an even better turn this morning, with the men's team pursuit securing a medal after beating Russia in a bronze medal ride-off.
That put an exclamation point on a day dominated by the rowers, after Mahe Drysdale and the pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray won gold less than 45 minutes apart on Dorney Lake.
The team pursuit of Jesse Sergent, Aaron Gate, Marc Ryan and Sam Bewley had a rough start to the day, losing to Australia, which meant bronze was the best they could do.
Against Russia, they slipped behind briefly midway through the race but a storming two-and-a-half lap shift by Sergent swung momentum their way for good. They clocked 3m 55.952s, more than 2s quicker than Russia.
Sergent also won bronze in the pursuit in Beijing, but said this one feels better. The Feilding rider will take a break from the track now, possibly for good, as he pursues his road career with Radioshack-Nissan-Trek. This year he rode his first Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia.
"There was no expectation in Beijing," he said. "This time around there was pressure, there was expectation from us and the media, so to come away from that added pressure, it feels even better.
"Most of the team is a little bit older. You can soak it up a bit more. Even the medal ceremony seemed in slow motion. Last time I was more Gatey's [Aaron Gate] age and everything kind of just happened and you forget things almost."
That was BikeNZ's first medal of the games after a near miss by Linda Villumsen. They might struggle to add another in the women's team pursuit.
That team, led individual pursuit world champion Alison Shanks, was well off the pace set by the world record-breaking Great Britain trio, but more worryingly, they were also slower than USA, Canada and Australia.
The best they can do tomorrow is bronze, but they will need to find some serious improvement in the next day to do it.
"It wasn't what we set out to do," said Lauren Ellis of their 3m 20.421s time. It was just over half a second out of Australia's third best time ahead of tomorrow's ride-offs. It was also 2s slower than a time they recently posted while training in Bordeaux.
Natasha Hansen, in her first Olympics, made it through repechages to the semifinals of the keirin. The top three riders in each semifinal went through, but the Invercargill air traffic controller finished fifth.By Dylan Cleaver Email Dylan