The final day of the 2012 UCI World Track Championships brought more success for Great Britain, sending them to the top of the medal table in the last significant competition before Olympics.
Sir Chris Hoy won an eleventh world title with a thrilling victory in the keirin, while Ben Swift and Geraint Thomas took silver in the madison.
Wendy Houvenaghel won silver in the women’s individual pursuit and Jess Varnish picked up the bronze in the 500m time trial won in emphatic style by Australia’s Anna Meares.
Hoy’s victory in the keirin final came courtesy of an irresistible blend of speed and race craft, diving beneath New Zealander, Simon Van Velthooven, in the final bend and overhauling race-long leader, Maxmilian Levy of Germany on the line.
Hoy told the BBC: “World titles are all special, every single one you remember, but this is particularly special because it’s the last meaningful race I’ll have before the Olympic Games.
“It’s a great confidence boost and hopefully I’m showing my rivals I can win from any position.”
Wendy Hovenaghel collected a fourth silver medal in the women’s individual pursuit, succumbing to a very strong ride from Allison Shanks and finishing more than two seconds behind the New Zealander.
Team Sky teammates, Geraint Thomas and Ben Swift, both with gold medals from this championships courtesy of victories in the men’s team pursuit and men’s scratch race, took silver in the men’s madison after a commanding performance from the Belgian pair of Kenny De Ketele and Gijs Van Hoecke.
Jess Varnish, determined not to leave the championships empty handed after being eliminated in the early rounds of the individual and team sprint, won bronze in the women’s 500m TT. The performance of the competition, however, and arguably of the championships, came from Australia’s Anna Meares, who set a new world record of 33.010 in an event she said afterwards she had entered for fun.
Meares won her third gold medal of the championships with victory in the women’s keirin, a competition in which Britain’s Victoria Pendleton was eliminated in the opening round after finishing third behind Clara Sanchez of France and the Australian, Kaarle McCulloch.