By Julien Pretot
LONDON (Reuters) - British track cyclists left a subdued Olympic velodrome without a gold medal for the first time on Sunday but picked up bronze in the omnium, a six-event discipline held over two days and won by Denmark's Lasse Norman Hansen.
Frenchman Bryan Coquard won the silver and local favorite Ed Clancy added to his team pursuit title with the bronze.
Team GB, who have four titles, need to win the four remaining events if they are to better their Beijing performance four years ago when they claimed seven out of ten possible titles on the track.
If the British track team were a nation, they would rank joint 10th in the overall medal table.
Jason Kenny looked impressive as he swept past the playful Azizulhasni Awang of Malaysia to cruise into the sprint last four en route to a possible, if not likely, final showdown with triple world champion Gregory Bauge.
France's Bauge, who beat Kenny in the world championship final in April, hammered German Robert Foerstemann, whose thighs are literally as big as his wife's waist.
Bauge will take on Australian Shane Perkins and Kenny will face Nijsane Nicholas Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago as none of the best-of-three matches went to the wire.
Bauge, dubbed the 'Black Pearl', cannot wait.
"I'm not there yet, but the most beautiful final would be against Jason Kenny," he told reporters.
A Bauge v Kenny final, filled with adrenaline and suspense, is exactly what the Velodrome crowd needs after an anticlimactic day.
The arena was hampered by a leaking roof at one point but it did not threaten the schedule. A few empty seats could be spotted.
Briton Victoria Pendleton started the day with a bang when she beat her Olympic record to qualify fastest in the individual sprint ahead of arch rival Anna Meares of Australia.
Pendleton and Meares, along with the other top contenders, were unable to drum up any real excitement however as they glided unchallenged into the quarter-finals.
The women's sprint heats were staggered throughout the day in-between the three remaining events in the omnium.
Clancy surged into contention after the 4km individual pursuit but the 15km scratch race was meant for the specialists and he is not one of them.
"In the bunch races I got torn apart by the specialists. I always knew it would be touch and go to get a medal," said Clancy.
"It's an emotional roller-coaster out there, one minute you are winning the next you are completely out of the race. That was the story of the last two days."
Hansen thought it was all over when he tumbled on the Siberian pine in the scratch race but the Dane got back on his bike and stayed in the mix.
"I think the adrenaline just came in, to kick in the wheel, to finish it," he said.
Second place in the one-kilometer time trial earned him gold after he, Coquard and Italian Elia Viviani had been level going into the final showdown.
"It's a really hard discipline. There's a lot of pressure every time you go on the track," Hansen told a news conference.
"It's a hard one but a fun one, too."
The omnium, a new Olympic discipline, will be on schedule again on Monday with the women's event where Britain's Laura Trott is the hot favorite.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Tom Pilcher)
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