The Australian men's sprint team of Matthew Glaetzer, Nathan Hart and Patrick Constable qualified third fastest on day 1 of the Olympic Games Track Schedule but had to settle for fourth place overall after losing the bronze medal ride to the French trio of Gregory Bauge, Francois Pervis and Michael D'Almeida.
Great Britain, with an Olympic record time of 42.562, and New Zealand were the two fastest teams in the qualifying with Australia posting the fourth fastest time of 43.166 in the first round to ensure it would be riding for a medal and better its fifth place from the 2016 London World Championships in March.
In the final against France, Australia was leading in the third and final lap only for France to fight back and claim the medal to ensure a fourth consecutive Olympic Games in which they have lost the race for bronze. Australia has won just one medal in the men's team sprint, bronze at the 200 Olympics with Gary Neiwand, Sean Eadie and Darryn Hill.
"That's sport. We have been on the winning side of that scenario before," said Glaezter who also came close to bronze in London. "We were definitely aiming for medals - it's always disappointing not to get on the podium, but I'm really proud of the boys.
With Nathan Hart and Patrick Constable both making their Olympic debuts, Glaezter added that his younger teammates gave it their all and ultimately came up against a faster team on the night.
"We have a really young team and we gave it everything we had and that's all we can do - it wasn't quite good enough," Glaezter said. "I know that the other boys rode their heart out, and that is all you can do. I mean, yes it's disappointing seeing we came fourth on the scoreboard but we are at the Olympics and we rode our hearts out for our country and we can't do much more than that."
Hart reiterated Glaezter's comments, explaining he had nothing left in the tank after the final.
"Look, I am pretty wrecked actually," said Hart. "But that is a good thing. I left it all out on the track for the team today but unfortunately we didn't quite get on the podium. But we can be proud of fourth, this is only the second time this team has ridden together, first time was at the World Championships this year. We improved on those times, so there are positives there.
"All the staff and support team at Cycling Australia and the Australian Olympic Team have done a great job in getting us here."
There is chance of redemption for the men's sprint team with the individual sprint and Keirin events to come.