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While the performances of the Australia riders always excite, Ireland's Martyn Irvine has to be the man of the meet at this year's UCI Track Cycling World Championships.

Irvine rode his heart out in the men's individual pursuit to finish second behind Australia's Michael Hepburn, then an hour later, followed up that silver medal-winning performance with a gold in the 60-lap, 15km scratch race.

While it can look a bit messy at times, the scratch is a simple race; all in, first to the line, and what a ride that final was in the last 10 laps.

Irvine, a multiple track champion at home in Ireland, went on a flyer as the race drew to a close but looked to have mis-timed his run to the finish, with Austria's Andreas Mueller appearing to have the better legs.

However, the Irishman dug deep to hold off the German, somehow finding another reserve of speed to put himself in the record books as his country's first track world champion in 117 years.

"I can't believe I did that," said Irvine. "I gave it everything in the individual pursuit and my legs felt absolutely hollow before the start of the scratch.

Irvine went into the world championships in Minsk as one of three Ireland entrants and emerged as proof that it's not always about pumping enormous amounts of cash into a development program. Having a highly motivated athlete always comes first.

Ireland is a small country with a population of 4.5 million people and no indoor velodrome. In context, Irvine's performance has to one of the best bang-for-your-buck rides in a long time.

But the Irishman is no Eddie the Eagle. He is a quality rider, who is as comfortable on the track as he is on the road. He rides for the US based ProContinental UnitedHealthcare team, finished second to Nicholas Roche in the Irish road time trial championships and fourth in the road race.

Irvine is entered in the omnium and I'm looking forward to seeing what this talented all rounder can do in that event. I only wish he was Australian.


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