Sir Bradley Wiggins staved off a trip to the job centre as he and Mark Cavendish brought the house down by winning Day Two’s closing Madison chase to move into second in the overall Six Day London standings.
Belgian duo Kenny de Ketele and Moreno de Pauw lead the standings, with Cavendish and Wiggins level on laps, but 19 points down on their rivals.
They had gone into the night’s final event, the 45-minute Madison chase, 24 points behind the leading Belgians with Germany’s Leif Lampater and Marcel Kalz in second and Australia’s Cameron Meyer and Callum Scotson in third.
But Cavendish took the final sprint of the Madison, pipping de Pauw on the line, to lift them above their German and Australian rivals as Dutchmen Wim Stroetinga and Yoeri Havik finished third in the night’s final event.
And Wiggins said he was just pleased to prolong the final leg of his career.
“I’ve got to go down the job centre next month so I’d much rather be doing this,” said the five-time Olympic champion.
“We just wanted to make a bit of a statement tonight to the other guys. I think Cav was a bit tired last night with jet lag. We just thought to give it some beans and it’s been a good night.”
And Cav, who appeared to be tearing up on stage with a mixture of sweat and celebratory champagne in his eyes, thanked the crowd - who raised the roof as he crossed the line - for their vocal support.
“It’s incredible,” said the 31-year-old. “Thanks to everyone for coming, honestly it’s so good to race in front of a home crowd.
“People were so enthusiastic last night and the support for myself and Bradley - it’s so nice to see, so thank you. I’m crying, I’m so happy.”
The night’s Six Day proceedings began with the Longest Lap, which saw Cavendish and Wiggins both duck out early as Chris Latham led from the front, holding off the challenge of last night’s winner, Scotson, to take the win for his team.
And Latham - last year’s runner-up with fellow Brit with Ollie Wood - said training in Manchester had a lot to do with his success - but not in the way you’d think.
“It’s just traffic lights, it lets you perfect your track stand,” said the 22-year-old.
“Especially training in Manchester, there are loads of traffic lights there.”
Scotson’s teammate Meyer showed all his class and why he has been a world champion on the track six times, to win the 40-lap Derny race at a canter ahead of France’s Benjamin Thomas and defending champion de Pauw.
There was early success for Great Britain in the Win & Out race, but the home riders were outdone by the Belgians de Pauw and de Ketele, with the former beating Cavendish in the first sprint to take the race, before Andy Tennant and Wiggins finished second and third.
The win was the only one of the night for the Belgians, who are delighted to be leading after Day Two.
“It’s always nice trying to defend the lead. There are still four more days to come so it’s certainly not over yet,” said de Pauw.
“The Win & Out was new, we had never done it before in Six Day. We went all or nothing in the first sprint and it was a bit of a risk but it worked out well.”
And de Ketele knows their rivals will attack them in the days to come.
“I think Cav and Wiggo and the Australians will be the two strongest teams. It’s not going to be an easy one,” he said.
“You need to have eyes everywhere and once you get a little bit too much in the back of the bunch it’s really hard.”
In the Six Day 500m TT Kalz and Lampeter continued their domination of the timed events, setting the fastest time so far, stopping the clock in 26.760s.
And there was more German success in the sprinters competition as Joachim Eilers lit up the track to take the win in the 200m flying lap time trial and qualify fastest for the sprinter finals.
In the final he faced off against compatriot Max Levy and Brit Mathew Rotherham, with the 29-year-old German winning a photo-finish to draw level with Eilers in the sprinters overall standings, with two nights of competition complete.
Between the sprint time trials and finals there was time for Thomas Rotherham, who only made the B-final in the sprint, to ease to a comfortable Keirin victory ahead of his brother, Mathew.
“I got lucky,” said the man from Bolton. “Njisane (Philip) had a really strong ride and he brought me to the front, I had a good gap on him and it meant that I was in his slipstream for all the race and when it came to going, I had lots left - so it was a really good race.”
The night begun with the second round of the 1878 Cup, a Madison competition for under-21 riders.
Last night’s eighth-placed finishers, Grant Martin and Andy Brown, took the win by a clear lap, with Moritz Augenstein and Stefan Mastaller finishing in third place, one lap down.
The result leaves the British pairing in the lead with just one night of competition remaining, leading Jules Hesters and Gerben Thijssen on laps, but 32 points behind the Belgian pair.