Hepburn does the double as Cyclones tally mounts in Minsk
Queensland's Michael Hepburn successfully defended his crown to claim his second gold medal in as many days at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk, Belarus.
A silver medal to the women's pursuit team and a bronze medal ride in the scratch race by Luke Davison has the Cyclones on top of the medal table with a tally of two gold, two silver and two bronze after two days of racing.
21 year old Hepburn backed up from last night's team pursuit victory to ride 4:18.456 in the qualifying round for the individual pursuit and book a gold medal showdown with Ireland's Martyn Irvine who clocked 4:20.260.
In the final Hepburn lifted the pace to another level hitting the lead after two laps and steadily gaining ground with every pedal stroke to cover the 4000 metres in a time of 4:16.733, almost eight seconds quicker than Irvine (4:24.528)
"It was a pretty special feeling getting up for the win there," said Hepburn after donning his second rainbow jersey. "It's been a great two days for myself and for the entire team and (great) to come out and do a solid ride as well.
"It wasn't quite as fast as I was hoping to go but it's quite heavy track out there and (it was my) fourth pursuit in 36 hours so the legs were starting to feel it. I was still pretty satisfied that I could clock up a good time."
Hepburn says experience at world level helped him refocus after the elation of day one when the team reclaimed the teams pursuit title for Australia.
"It's definitely hard but that's what we're used to, that's what it's normally like at a world championships," he explained. "You are normally racing a couple of days so after each event you have to re-evaluate and take a step back and focus on the next event before you can really look back at what you've achieved; that's a process that happens afterwards.
"I was really motivated after last night to get a good result," he said. "I'm glad I could pull out the goods today."
But the Olympic team pursuit silver medallist almost didn't make it to Minsk.
"My initial decision after the Olympics was to walk away from the track and that's what I planned on doing for a few months there but when I looked at the road schedule and the track worlds being early this year it fitted in alright," said Hepburn rides on the road withOrica-GreenEDGE who backed his ambition to defend his title.
"That's why I chose the IP to focus on as it's more road based, the training, and obviously in the last few weeks things changed with the team pursuit and I'm really glad they did. "
Teenager Alexander Morgan was last year racing the 3000 metre individual pursuit as a junior but today he backed up from a team pursuit win to secure a start in the bronze medal final. He qualified fourth fastest in 4:22.785 while Swiss rider Stefan Kueng was third fastest in qualifying (4:22.530). But for Morgan a fourth four kilometre ride in two days proved took much for the 18 year old who started strongly but faded in the final kilometre to finish four seconds off the pace and out of the medals.
As was the case for the men, the women's team pursuit final was again a battle between Australia and Great Britain but unlike last night it was Great Britain who grabbed the gold.
Australia's Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Melissa Hoskins set a time of 3:20.696 to qualify a berth in the gold medal final for Australia.
"We certainly wanted to go out there and do a really good time and we knew we'd have fresh legs in Amy (Cure) to bring it home in the final and the girls did a great job to come home with the silver," said Ankudinoff who made way for individual pursuit silver medallist Cure in the gold medal race.
2012 Olympic Champions Laura Trott and Dani King welcomed Elinor Barker into the line up to clock the fastest qualifying time of 3:18.704 for the 3000 metres.
The Australians upped the pace in the final to finish in 3:19.913 but so too did the Brits who clocked 3:18.140 to win the gold medal.
"They are a bit hard to beat at the moment and really have been for the last few years but it was a good race and I think we're getting closer," said Hoskins. "We have a few years now to peg them back. I'm really proud of how the girls rode today and I think we rode really well as a team."
Edmondson was also backing up from Wednesday's individual pursuit racing where she placed third.
"We had a hit out this owning and my legs were a little heavy in that but that's the point of the hit out and by the time the racing came round I was feeling alright and happy to back up and feel a bit stronger in the final," said Edmondson. "Just a shame we couldn't pull off the gold."
Cure says watching the team ride qualifying from the sidelines was nerve wracking.
"But it was awesome to see them qualify for the gold and silver medal ride," said Cure. "I was right behind them cheering my hardest.
"We gave it all we could tonight and unfortunately couldn't bring home the gold but all we can ask for is to give it our best."
Australia's third medal of the night came in the 15 kilometre men's scratch race where Luke Davison sprinted home for a bronze medal in his track worlds debut ride.
The 22 year old crossed the line behind Irish breakaway Martyn Irvine who won the scratch race less than an hour after his silver medal ride in the individual pursuit. Austrian Andreas Mueller was second.
Davison looked comfortable throughout but admits he learned some lessons from tonight's race.
"It's another level up and I guess I hesitated a bit and didn't back myself enough and in hindsight I should have gone earlier but the guys who came away with first and second really deserved it," said Davison.
"There were moments when the hammer was really down and I had to make the decision to go with it or not and I knew it was better to be safe than sorry to cover most of the moves," Davison explained. "As the Australian rider I knew I'd be marked so it was a matter of staying up the front and trying to be there (but) when the move went I hesitated for a bit and in the end that's what cost it.
"But still thrilled with third."
Davison, who was also reserve for the team pursuit says being a member of the Cyclones team is an inspiring place to be.
"It's a great team filled with a lot of young blokes who are very motivated," said Davison. "Good to have that kind of atmosphere. It was great coming in with the other team pursuit riders and hopefully I can step up and make the top four in years to come but for now it's great to have my first medal at a worlds level and I'll take it step by step."
In the men's team sprint 2012 world champions Scott Sunderland and Matt Glaetzer were joined by Mitchell Bullen and qualified for the bronze medal final against France. Sunderland, in the first wheel position got the team off to a flying start but France responded coming home strongly and finishing two-tenths of a second quicker than the Australians. Germany won the gold medal final against New Zealand.
Sydney's Kaarle McCulloch raced in the 500 metre time trial where her time of 34.362 was sixth fastest. The gold medal was won by Hong Kong cyclist Wai Sze Lee(33.973) ahead of Germany's Miriam Welte (33.996) with Rebecca James of Great Britain third (34.133).
Day three of racing will feature a host of Cyclones talent. In the afternoon's qualifying sessions Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton start their sprint campaign with the flying 200m qualifying round while Matthew Glaetzer, Scott Sunderland and Andrew Taylor will contest the first round of the men's keirin. Glenn O'Shea, who won gold in the team pursuit on day one, begins the defence of his omnium crown and fellow pursuit gold medallist Alexander Edmondson will line up in the 40km points race. Melissa Hoskins is back on the track for the women's 10km scratch race.
2013 UCI Track World Championships - Cyclones Australian team list and medal summary
The eight sprint events are team sprint, sprint, keirin and time trial for both men and women.
The eleven endurance events are men's and women's team pursuit, individual pursuit, scratch race, points race and omnium plus the Madison for men.
SBS Television is broadcasting daily live and highlights coverage of the Championships - check local guides for details.