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Thursday 17 April 2014

Irvine in gold medal hunt

Martyn Irvine, pictured, qualified second fastest for the men's individual pursuit and faces Michael Hepburn in the final

Ireland's Martyn Irvine will go for gold in the men's individual pursuit on day two of the Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk.

Irvine clocked four minutes 20.260 seconds in the four-kilometre event to qualify second fastest and will now meet defending world champion Michael Hepburn of Australia in the final. Hepburn qualified in 4mins 18.456secs.

Great Britain's Steven Burke finished a disappointing 17th.

Burke was lapped by qualifying opponent Alex Morgan, who, like Hepburn, was part of the Australian quartet which won gold ahead of Britain on day one, and clocked 4:32.153.

Burke, 2008 Olympic individual pursuit bronze medallist behind Sir Bradley Wiggins, was a late replacement for Andy Tennant, who was withdrawn following the team pursuit.

The 24-year-old from Lancashire, who won London 2012 team pursuit gold, was seeking to become Britain's first world champion in the now non-Olympic event since Wiggins in Manchester in March 2008.

Now Britain's wait will be at least six years, with next year's World Championships in Cali, Colombia the next opportunity.

It shows the switch in focus after the individual pursuit was dropped following the 2008 Olympics.

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