Sir Bradley Wiggins was cruelly denied a winning return to the Track Cycling World Championships after Australia snatched gold from Great Britain in the men's team pursuit after a thrilling final at the Lee Valley Velopark - but there was success for Laura Trott who won gold in the women's scratch race. GB led with a lap to go but Ed Clancy dropped off the pace to allow the Aussie team to claw back the advantage in the closing stages.

The team of Wiggins, Clancy, Owain Doull and Jon Dibben trailed for long periods until they stormed into a narrow lead of two tenths in the penultimate lap. But Clancy, who was brought into the team for the final, was unable to keep maintain the pace as Britain were forced to settle for silver. Denmark took bronze in a ride-off with Italy.

"I'll put my house on it, winning in Rio now to be honest," said Wiggins, who will bid to surpass Sir Chris Hoy as Britain's most successful Olympian this summer. "I am confident and we will. We've come so far here. Me especially. We all look our efforts individually and, from where I was at Christmas compared to here now I've come on leaps and bounds. We're into the summer now and I can move on again for Rio.

Trott earlier won Britain's first medal of the championships after winning her sixth world title as she prevailed in an absorbing women's scratch race. The double Olympic champion sat off the main group for long periods before she stormed past Kirsten Wild and Stephanie Roorda, who took silver and bronze respectively.

"I am so happy," she told BBC Sport. "When I was in the racing wasn't actually feeling that good and I wasn't going to chase people back to the group so I dug in a little bit and let everyone else work. It worked out perfectly for me.

Great Britain cycling
The Wiggins-led British led quartet could not keep pace with their Australian counterparts. Getty Images

"I thought this wasn't my race to lose, I am not reigning world champion so I let everyone get on with it and raced my own race. I came from the back and we were a long way away.

"To be here winning is amazing, I love this track. I am so happy. It was a bit disappointing the in the team pursuit but if you don't race on the edge you don't know your limit. We gave it all we could and we're going to go out and get that bronze medal."

Meanwhile, Welsh rider Becky James marked a stunning return from a two-year absence due to a knee injury and a cancer scare to take bronze in the women's kerin on her first major appearance for three years. The 24-year-old, a three-time rainbow jersey winner in 2013, was not expected to be in medal contention but she took third place with a gutsy performance behind Germany's Kristina Vogel and Anna Meares of Australia.

"To have a bronze after all I have ben through over the last two years in London with all the support is incredible, I am over the moon," James said. "It doesn't feel real, I am over the moon to be back. It has been a really tough road, the World Cups were tough this winter but to be back and doing the kerin has been so good."

The success from the evening session was in stark contrast to the events from earlier in the day when GB qualified fifth in the women's team pursuit amid a shambolic display. The quartet of Trott, Elinor Barker, Ciara Horne and Joanna Rowsell split as the team entered the final kilometre and ensured the host nation are forced to settle for a ride for bronze in an event they have for so long dominated. Since the event's inception in 2008, Britain have won six gold medals at previous world championships however their stronghold has relented in London.