Queensland's rainbow jersey on show at #Tracknats
Reigning individual pursuit world champion Michael Hepburn will showcase his rainbow jersey when he contests the 2013 Subaru Cycling Australia Track National Championships in Sydney next week, while dual reigning junior world champion Taylah Jennings makes her debut in the senior ranks.
At the 2009 Cycling Australia Track National Championships in Adelaide, a fresh faced seventeen-year-old Michael Hepburn won the under-19 men’s individual pursuit in a world record time.
Later that year, he eclipsed that mark again on his way to winning gold at the 2009 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Russia.
In 2012, Hepburn enters Track Nationals as the reigning world and national champion and is eager to dust off his pursuit bike in Sydney following an extended period away from the velodrome.
“It will be my first pursuit since I won the world championships in Melbourne,” said Hepburn, 21, who will only contest the individual pursuit in Sydney. “I have only been on the track for three days since the Olympics and I am looking forward to seeing how the legs are on the track.”
At the 2012 UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne last April, Hepburn claimed his first individual senior world title in the individual pursuit, following a barnstorming last kilometre which saw him upstage teammate and favourite Jack Bobridge as Australia went one-two in the event.
Earlier in the Championships, Hepburn teamed with Bobridge, plus Glenn O’Shea and Rohan Dennis to record the third fastest team pursuit time in history (3:53.401), which secured the silver medal for Australia behind the British team which broke the world record (3.53.295).
“It’s pretty special feeling knowing I am the only one with the individual pursuit rainbow jersey and it’s an honour to line up wearing it for the 12 months afterwards,” said Hepburn.
“It’s right up there with putting on the green and gold for the first time.
“But I have only raced in the rainbow jersey once or twice and, so I am looking forward to wearing the rainbow jersey in Sydney.”
Following his success in Melbourne, the Brookfield cyclist made his Olympic debut in London where similar to Melbourne, the Australian quartet of Hepburn, Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis and Glenn O’Shea were once again beaten to the top step of the podium by Great Britain who once again claimed gold in world record time (3min.51.649).
“It was hard to motivate myself after the Olympics because it was a big goal of mine for three years and in one day it’s all over and you have an emptiness,” explained Hepburn.
“But I’ve had the road to focus with Orica GreenEDGE which has been great.
“2013 will be all about the road for me, but I wanted to take the opportunity to wear my rainbow jersey at the track nationals,” he added.
One cyclist destined to represent her country at the Olympic Games is Taylah Jennings who will make her highly anticipated debut in the senior ranks.
Jennings, 18, graduates after two seasons in the under 19 category in which she claimed consecutive Australian National Championships’ ‘Champion of Champions’ awards and five junior world titles in the endurance events.
Hailing from Anna Meares' home town of Rockhampton, Jennings has now made the bold move to the sprinting ranks, making her national team debut with the Cyclones last weekend at the UCI Track World Cup in Mexico, finishing fifth in fast, hard fought women’s keirin final.
“The track world cup; it was incredible, it’s on a different level of racing to anything I’ve ever done before,” exclaimed Jennings. “The track was so fast I pulled out some really ridiculous times, and it was great to work with some of the senior girls in Kaarle and Steph (Morton) who were great team mates.
“It (sprint training) has been really different, it’s more hard mentally for me but I am adapting to the training really well and I am improving really fast.
“My 200 times are getting a lot faster and I am picking up different techniques with the style of riding and tactics as well.
“I guess if it doesn’t work out, at least I have the ability to go back to competing in the endurance events.
“But my coaches now think that sprinting will work out for me if I keep working hard at it,” she added.
The Queensland team also includes three-time reigning Australian road time trial champion and London Olympian Shara Gillow who will make a flying visit to ride the individual pursuit.
Deanna Bax, a former state gymnast and diver and Australian QYOF representative in the weightlifting, will contest the sprint and keirin, as will Nathan Graves in the men’s events, the older brother of Beijing Olympic BMX rider Jared Graves.
The 2013 Subaru Cycling Australia Track National Championships will be held at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome from 30 January to 2 February, 2013.
The Championships are live from 7:30pm on Friday 1 February and Saturday 2 February on SBS TWO.
Follow the action online:
- Website http://tracknationals.subaru.com.au/
- Twitter https://twitter.com/CyclingAusTrack
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CyclingAusTrack
- Live results http://tracknationals.subaru.com.au/senior/results/
- Live Stream - From 7:30pm on Friday 1 February and Saturday 2 February at www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral