Place 20 - Michael Hepburn
Type of Rider: Time Triallist
Biggest Success: Junior World Champion Individual Pursuit
Team/Club 2011: Team Jayco – AIS
Team 2012: not yet known
Best Mock List-placing: new
Sometimes it’s not the quantity of results that is impressive, but the quality. Other riders fight their way into the Mock List, through tireless small victories during the season, Hepburn bumped himself into the lists midfield with a few stunners.
Team Jayco, after or besides Rabobank's Continental Team maybe the best U23 team in the world, produced again two mocklisters this year. This is not exactly surprising; even for next year, new talents are knocking on the door, however Hepburn beeing the best-placed astonishes a little bit.
This year Michael Hepburn has achieved a performance boost and is one of the absolute medal contenders at the World Championships in the time trial. Actually only his teammate and fellow countryman Luke Durbride has to be estimated as beeing stronger. The writer of this article evaluates only Rasmus Quaade likely strong.
The reason why Hepburn, despite the alleged weaker time trial, is ranked ahead of Luke Durbridge in the Mock List, is because he is more versatile. That the Australian is a good time trialist, is out of the question. He primarily enhanced the junior World record in Pursuit in the National Championship and afterwards twice on the way to the World Championships of 2009. Last year, the first year as U23 rider, the young Jayco rider finished third in the time trial of the Olympia's Tour (2.2); before Luke Durbridge. This year in the same Tour he finished both the prologue and the time trial in second place behind that very Durbridge.
At the Thüringen – Rundfahrt (2.2U) the Jayco team, with Hepburns as motor and one man down, because Durbridge had to call off the tour at the last moment, won the team time trial. At the World Championship last year, Hepburn was denied to start in the time trial, because the Australians already had two world class time trialist in their team, Luke Durbridge and Rohan Dennis. This year Dennis wasn't able to show anything, so Hepburn can easily start and race for a medal.
The mentioned versatility was shown for the first time at the most important Italien U23 one day race, the GP Liberazione (1.2U). This is not brutally difficult, but hard enough to produce with Matteo Trentin, since August a pro at Quick Step, a race favorite as solo winner. 45 seconds later the native of Brisbane also finished solo. Behind them the riders then dripped in groups into the finish. At the Olympia’s Tour Hepburn was not able to follow the major attack from the Mini-Rabos on the final stage, but he was the last Jayco rider that doggedly-and unsuccessfully-tried to keep the gap of the field limited. He finished sixth in the overall standing. At the mountain time trial of the Thüringen – Rundfahrt he came in as fourth fastest. He achieved his first and only professional victory also not in a time trial, but on a hilly stage at the Tour of Norway (2.2), when he, along with Rene Jorgensen, Kelderman, Wilmann and Michael Rasmussen sprinted to the finish line.
This hill and mountain strength indicates, that the 20 year old Australian could not only become a time trialist, but also an all round rider in the future.
The team for 2012 is still open. It is basically obvious, that Hepburn together with Dubridge will join the new Australian professional team GreenEdge. He preventively states this team on Facebook as his favorite team. But whether this actually will take place or is just a figment, is still open at the moment.
Such a figment are potential children he could have with his girlfried Nettie Edmunson. She herself is a successful "star-of-tomorrow" rider and mutual children could fight cycling wars with the Kelderman brood in two decades. The Mock List is still waiting for its first father-son team.
At the Tour de l'Avenir (2.NC) he proved to be more allround than expected. He won the prologue and the mountainous third stage out of a group of seven! Celebrating that he made an obscene gesture and was therefore taken out of the race. It seems like he won't start at the Worlds as well, his anger about this fact and an alienation at another Tour de l'Avenir stage seem to be the reason for Hepburns gesture.
Nominated by ogkempf, written by ogkempf, translated by emilia