Team GB’s women’s team pursuit squad broke the world record but Olympic gold proved narrowly out of reach later in the day after winning silver at the Izu Velodrome.
The team comprising of Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald, Neah Evans and Josie Knight set a new world best in the first round to book their place in the gold-medal match against Germany.
However the Germans lowered that mark within a matter of minutes, and then produced a stunning time in the final to win in 4:04.242.
Germany had broken the world record in qualifying on Monday, and after doing so again in the first round, they took another two seconds out of it in the final.
GB finished six seconds back, coming away with a silver medal in the event for the first time after gold in London and Rio.
Archibald, 27, from Milngavie, said: “We are proud, the pandemic may have taken away our race opportunities but we never lost our job as team pursuiters.
“We’ve been supported by British Cycling, supported by UK Sport, supported by The National Lottery players all through the pandemic, and we’ve pulled it through to a silver medal, second best in the world.
“We’ve got three years [until Paris 2024] to try again.”
Kenny will have another opportunity to become the first British woman to win Olympic gold at three successive Games when she goes in the Omnium and the Madison, the latter alongside Archibald.
Kenny, 29, from Cheshunt, said: “I think Germany took everyone by surprise. They were the quickest at Worlds, but they didn’t get it right, we knew they were going to go fast, maybe just not that fast.”
Kenny’s silver medal moves her level with Dame Katherine Grainger on five Olympic medals, a mark that has only been bettered by Charlotte Dujardin, who has won two bronze medals in Tokyo to take her tally to six.
The British quartet for the final also featured two Olympic debutants, with Evans and Knight standing on the podium for the very first time in Tokyo.
Evans, 31, from Cuminestown, said: “It’s really special. Obviously we were the defending champions, we have the reputation but there are so many strong nations fighting.
“It wasn’t to be this time but we’ll be back for Paris.”
Knight, 24, from Dingle, Ireland, said: “Last year I didn’t expect to be here so to be on the start line with these girls is incredible.”
Courtesy of Team GB