There was a real buzz in the velodrome as first Wendy Houvenaghel, then Rebecca Romero broke the British record for the 3,000 metres individual pursuit.
The qualifying round was a fairly insipid affair until the final two heats, which featured the two British riders.
And the atmosphere from the crowd heated up to match the steamy velodrome. They’ve definitely left the heating on.
Houvenaghel’s heat with Australian Katie Mactier was a belter. Mactier led narrowly for the first two-thirds of the race but Houvenaghel clawed her way back into it and was flying by the finish to set a time of 3-31.753.
It was a new British record for the event. But it stood for less than ten minutes as the showdown between last year’s finallists Rebecca Romero and Sarah Hammer was an even quicker affair.
Romero was in control throughout and finished with an impressive 3-29.593.
Hammer denied the Manchester crowd an all-British final, consigning Houvenaghel to the bronze medal race.
So, tonight’s finals are not only a repeat of this afternoon’s heats, but also a rematch of last year’s medal races in Majorca.
Houvenaghel will want to get revenge over Mactier, who beat her to bronze 12 months ago. Romero looks good for gold.
British Cycling’s women’s endurance coach Dan Hunt shouts instructions to Romero as she rides to the fastest time in qualifying
World Track 2008: All the results from Manchester