Hot Hepburn on a roll
WHEN you’re on top of the world, it’s often harder to stay there than to slide.
However, Ipswich Cycling Club rider Michael Hepburn is on track to keep setting the highest standards.
In Adelaide preparing for another demanding season, Hepburn yesterday stopped for a moment to reflect on his latest World Cup track success in Melbourne.
After winning a team pursuit gold medal and individual bronze at the Commonwealth Games in India, Hepburn only had a short break before this month’s World Cup.
But like his Aussie team-mates, he returned fresh and focused. The 19-year-old was part of the world champion Australian pursuit team which recorded a sizzling sub-four minute time to win gold.
“It was pretty special,” said Hepburn .
“It was the first opportunity to show the home crowd the (world champion) jersey.
“We all went out there to put on a good show.”
The Aussie team of Cameron Meyer, Jack Bobridge, Hepburn and new recruit Leigh Howard produced a slick three minute, 56.913 second ride in outclassing Russia.
Victorian Howard dropped out late in the pursuit final to leave world champion trio Meyer, Bobridge and Hepburn to cross the line victorious.
For Hepburn, the World Cup triumph was the perfect way to launch a new season.
“You never know after a break how quickly you are going to come back and how much you’re going to lose,” Hepburn said.
“Not just winning (the World Cup), but winning quite convincingly with a world-class time was even better.”
Hepburn is in Adelaide for a six-day induction camp with his Jayco Skins team.
“Everyone was pretty surprised how they’re going this early in the season after a break,” he said. “We’re riding times that a couple of years ago we would have dreamed of.
“It’s really positive for the next couple of years.”
London 2012 Olympic prospect Michael Hepburn sounds relaxed as he maps out the cycling season ahead with his Jayco team.
He’s excited about next year’s world championships in Denmark, being with one of the most disciplined track teams Australia has developed in years.
Hepburn’s next major mission is the national road championships in Ballarat during the first week of next month.
“We believe we’ve got the best program in the world and the best support staff . . . as well as really motivated,” Hepburn said.
“It’s a good crew coming up.
“It’s a good program at the moment, everyone is feeding off each other and having success.
“It’s exciting all round.”
Hepburn was also buoyed by being nominated for Cycling Australia’s male track cyclist of the year. He was thrilled to see three-time world champion Cameron Meyer collect the honour.
“We’re a tight little group, the team pursuit,” Hepburn said.
“It was really nice to finish that World Cup in front of a home crowd on a high then go to the awards night.”
Hepburn said he appreciated the ongoing support from Ipswich, including the crew at the Yellow Jersey Bike Shop.
“They are all pretty proud of me and always follow me,” he said. “They are nice people.”