An emotional Sir Chris Hoy secured his British record sixth Olympic gold with his eyes closed for fear of his bid to cap his Games career with victory falling apart.
The 36-year-old won the keirin, taking Britain’s seventh gold medal from 10 track events as the hosts equalled their haul of four years’ ago.
Hoy was tearful as he stepped on to the top step of the Olympic podium for a sixth time, surpassing Sir Steve Redgrave’s previous best.
The Scot’s fifth Games gold came in Thursday’s team sprint, but his victory last night surpassed that as his greatest success.
“It’s the most incredible feeling when you finally cross the line and you realise you’ve won,” Hoy said.
“I didn’t think anything could top that (the team sprint), but because it’s the end, it’s the last Olympics I’m doing, it’s the last Olympic medal I could, it’s my sixth gold medal...
“The nature of the whole event, the fact it’s an unpredictable event – anybody of the last six could’ve won that race – it’s just that relief, delight, so many emotions go through your mind.
“I shut my eyes when I lunged. I didn’t want to look. I didn’t want to check because for all I knew there could’ve been somebody coming fast around the outside.
“I drove all the way to the line, threw the bike and I heard this massive roar and realised it was for me.”
Hoy claiming his piece of history appeared straightforward in the end as he powered away to triumph from Germany’s Maximilian Levy, with New Zealand’s Simon van Velthooven and Teun Mulder of Holland inseparable in claiming bronze.
But Levy was ahead of Hoy on the final bend, before the Briton found another gear to triumph.
Victoria Pendleton was similarly emotional as she revealed she was relieved to be entering retirement after her dream of bowing out with a third Olympic gold was ended by old rival Anna Meares, of Australia.
Pendleton edged the first race in the tightest of photo finishes but was later relegated for leaving her lane – much to the dissatisfaction of a packed and partisan velodrome.
Meares led out the second race and, after cleverly forcing Pendleton to take the initiative earlier than she wanted to, romped to victory down the straight.
Pendleton, her voice cracking as she unsuccessfully fought back tears, said: “I’m just relieved it’s all over.
“People are asking me if I’m disappointed I lost, but I’m just happy that it’s over.
“Of course I’m disappointed not to have won two golds, that would have been perfect, but I’m just overwhelmed with the feeling right now that I never have to go through this again.”
Meanwhile, Great Britain’s Laura Trott could barely comprehend how everything came right for her as she claimed her second gold medal of London 2012.
The 20-year-old followed up team pursuit glory by snatching the Olympic omnium title with a stunning ride in the final leg of the six-discipline event, the 500 metres time trial.