Sat, Feb 23, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Irvine makes Irish history with two cycling medals

AP, MINSK

Martyn Irvine of Ireland poses for a photograph after the men’s scratch race final at the 2013 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk, Belarus, on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

Martyn Irvine made history for Ireland by winning its first men’s medals at the world track cycling championships in 116 years on Thursday.

Irvine won the silver in the individual pursuit, and within an hour was the champion of the scratch race.

He is the first Irishman to medal at the track worlds since Harry Reynolds in 1897.

Irvine finished second to defending champion Michael Hepburn of Australia in the pursuit, then produced a spirited attack over the last 10 laps to claim gold in the scratch race.

Irvine powered from Andreas Mueller of Austria to finish first.

“It’s unbelievable, I do not know what to say. I’m a world champion,” Irvine said. “It was not easy, but once I went it was all or nothing. I didn’t look back, it was full gas.”

Hepburn won his second gold, a day after helping Australia take the team pursuit.

“It has been just a really very successful championships for me,” Hepburn said. “I was pretty confident today.”

Irvin finished second to take silver, while Stefan Kueng of Switzerland took bronze over Alexander Morgan of Australia.

In a rematch of the Olympics last year and world finals in the women’s team pursuit, the British team of Olympic champions Laura Trott and Dani King and new partner Elinor Barker beat Australia for gold for the third straight time.

“It was really hard. It [the race] seemed to flow nicely,” Trott said. “We have changed a few things from the qualification and we did it.”

The British team finished more than a second ahead of Australia. Canada took its second straight championships bronze in the discipline against Poland.

In the first race on the second day of the championships in Minsk Arena, Wai Sze Lee of Hong Kong claimed her first world title in the women’s 500m time trial.

She was the Olympic bronze medalist in keirin.

“I knew I could win today,” Lee said. “I hope I will do even better next year because I know that many better riders have not come here.”

Miriam Welte of Germany was 0.023 seconds behind to take silver — her second medal in two days. She won the women’s team sprint with Kristina Vogel.

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