Filippo Ganna came up with the goods for Italy when it mattered most with a stunning display of power in the final laps of the men's team pursuit final.
Italy clinched their sixth gold of the Tokyo Olympics by overcoming favourites Denmark in a thrilling race at the Izu Cycling Centre on Wednesday.
Ganna, the reigning world time trial champion, proved decisive as he hit the front in the final 1,000 metres, with Italy gaining a second on Denmark to cross the line in 3:42.032 and claim their eighth Olympic title in the event.
It marks a new world record and clocked in at almost eight seconds faster than Great Britain's winning time in Rio five years ago.
Denmark had looked well set to prove their favourites credentials after a superb opening three kilometres, but they failed to replicate the power shown by Ganna in the final laps and lost by 0.166s.
The Danes had overcome Team GB on Tuesday to make the final, albeit in contentious fashion, with lead rider Frederik Madsen crashing into the back of Charlie Tanfield.
FINISHING WITH A FLOURISH
Team GB had ultimately fallen foul of a somewhat controversial judging call, which meant they had to face off against Switzerland for a seventh-place finish.
However, the outgoing champions recovered to cruise to victory, setting the fastest Olympic time by a British quartet in the process.
"I wouldn't say a point to prove, we just wanted to go out on a positive note, not be disappointed because we had disappointment over the last few days and we wanted to overcome that, go out on a high and look forward to Paris," Oliver Wood told BBC Sport.
There was drama in the bronze medal race too, as Australia triumphed in a trans-Tasman tussle with New Zealand, who had to forfeit when one of their riders fell as a consequence of an overlapping wheel.
Australia have now won eight medals in the last 10 Olympic Games in the men's team pursuit, more than any other nation.
Team GB were able to get over their team disappointment with some fine individual showings from Jack Carlin and Jason Kenny in the men's sprint.
Carlin set a new Olympic record in his first heat, only to qualify as the third fastest, and though he had to survive a wobble in his second race, he progressed safely through to the quarter-finals.
Safely through— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) August 4, 2021
They kept us on our toes in those heats, but a solid set of rides from @JasonKenny107 and @jack_carlin97 sees them advance to the next round of the men's sprint! #TeamGB #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/GhGrgeRBUS
He will be joined by Kenny, who showed typical tactical nous to surprise Yuta Wakimoto on the inside. World record holder Nicholas Paul of Trinidad and Tobago also progressed.
The women's Keirin heats also took place, with the major favourites all making it through.
Katy Marchant – a bronze medallist in Rio – had to do it the hard way, however, after she was relegated for an infringement in her first heat. The 28-year-old atoned in the repechage to take her place in the quarter-finals.