Britain celebrated victory in the women's team pursuit at the European Championships in Glasgow ©Getty Images

Hosts Britain celebrated their first gold medal of the European Championships here as their women’s team pursuit squad stormed to victory.

Britain had posted the fastest time in qualifying and backed up the performance by overcoming France to book their place in the final.

Defending champions Italy provided the opposition after they saw off the challenge of Germany.

Italy’s Elisa Balsamo admitted yesterday that they had aimed to avoid Britain in the first round due to their strength.

Balsamo and her team-mates Letizia Paternoster, Marta Cavalli and Silvia Valsecchi showed no fear, though, in the gold medal ride, as the lead continued to alternate between the teams in the opening half of the contest.

Britain started to edge clear after the halfway mark, with Elinor Barker, Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald and Neah Evans pulling away as the Italy’s paid for their early endeavours.

Britain crossed the line in a time of 4min 16.896sec to seal the gold, with defending champions Italy settling for silver in 4:25.384.

Germany claimed the bronze medal as Charlotte Becker, Gudrun Stock, Mieke Kroger and Lisa Brennauer finished in 4:23.105 to overcome Poland.

Italy were crowned winners in the men's team pursuit ©Getty Images
Italy were crowned winners in the men's team pursuit ©Getty Images

While Italy were beaten by Britain in the women’s final, their men’s squad beat the hosts to progress to the gold medal ride.

Their team of Filippo Ganna, Francesco Lamon, Elia Viviani and Michele Scartezzini proved untroubled by Switzerland, winning gold in 3:55.401, their rivals ending four seconds off the pace.

Britain’s Ethan Hayter, Steven Burke, Kian Emadi and Charlie Tanfield bounced back from their first round loss to earn the bronze medal.

They finished in 3:57.483 to beat Germany.

The first gold medal of the track cycling programme was earned by The Netherlands Kirsten Wild, who had claimed victory earlier in the day in the women’s scratch race.

The reigning world champion held off a late surge from Emily Kay to earn the title, the British rider forced to settle for the silver medal.

Jolien D'Hoore of Belgium won the bronze medal. 

A tight battle for the gold also came in the men’s scratch race, with Adrien Garel of France and Ukraine’s Roman Gladysh going head-to-head.

Garel appeared to have done enough to earn gold, only for Gladysh to storm past in the final sprint to snatch the title away from the Frenchman.

Switzerland’s Tristan Marguet secured the bronze medal.

Russia defended their women's team sprint title ©Getty Images
Russia defended their women's team sprint title ©Getty Images

Russia’s women’s team sprinters Daria Shmeleva and Anastasiia Voinova successfully defended their crown.

The duo produced a fine performance to beat Ukraine in the gold medal ride, clocking 32.452sec to their rivals’ 33.108.

Germany rounded off the top three, as they overcame the Netherlands by ending in 32.981.

The bronze medal carried extra significance to Miriam Welte and Emma Hinze following the serious injuries suffered by team-mate Kristina Vogel last month in training.

Vogel is reportedly out of intensive care following a "serious spinal injury",

The second day of track cycling ended in similar fashion to how it began, as The Netherlands celebrated gold.

Their line-up of Jeffrey Hoogland, Harrie Lavreysen and Roy van der Berg won the men’s team sprint final in 42.888, with France’s Sebastien Vigier, Francois Pervis and Quentin Lafargue clocking 43.693 in second.

A second team sprint bronze medal went to Germany as Stefan Botticher, Timo Bichler and Joachim Eilers finished in 43.805 to beat Poland.