Michael Hepburn Prolongs Contract With ORICA-GreenEDGEMon 19 Aug 2013
ORICA-GreenEDGE is pleased to announce Michael Hepburn has extended his contract through 2015. The 22 year old Queenslander joined the team in 2012 for his neo-pro season and has since developed as a versatile rider within the squad.
“I’ve really enjoyed the last two years with the team,” said Hepburn. “I really like the feel of the team – it’s got a great vibe. My first year as a pro was the inaugural year of ORICA-GreenEDGE, and I am really happy to continue here.”
Already familiar with the inner workings of the Australian cycling system at the U23 level, it was only natural that the talented, young rider would move to an Australian based professional team.
“The timing of the team was perfect for me,” noted Hepburn. “I had been in Italy with the U23 program for two years when Shayne [Bannan] and Gerry [Ryan] started up the team. The older guys on the team say this is a dream they’ve been waiting for their whole careers – 15, 20 years. I’m really lucky to have come into the sport at this time and slotted right into an Australian pro team.”
In the London Olympics, Hepburn helped deliver Australia’s pursuit squad to a silver medal last summer. This past February at the Track World Championships, Hepburn scored a gold medal in both the individual and team pursuit events. After huge success on the track, Hepburn is now ready to turn more of his focus to the road.
“Next year I might sit a year off the track,” said Hepburn. “I’m not exactly sure where I want to go on the track in the next few years. I definitely want to focus on the road a bit more in the next couple of years to see where that takes me.”
Sport Director Matt White sees a big future for Hepburn on the road.
“We've watched Heppy’s talent continue to develop on the road, and we're very keen to continue to support him,” said White. “We'll be looking for bigger and better things from him next year.”
As a young rider still trying to find his niche on the road, Hepburn wants to improve in a few different areas. Given his history on the track, a logical progression will be in time trials.
“I’m not sure what type of rider I will be,” said Hepburn. “Personally, I want to improve in the time trial. I want to start contesting for wins there rather than running top five or ten. I’d also like to see myself get selected for the team time trial to represent ORICA-GreenEDGE at the World Championships. It’s big goal of mine and for the team, too.”
“I’m keen on riding a variety of races and seeing where I can be used best by the team in the different styles of racing we do,” he added. “I’m not set on any one particular path or outcome.”
Hepburn might not yet see where he will find his place within road cycling, but team management has little doubt where he will slot in.
“I expect him to find a home in our Classics teams,” said White. “He's a versatile rider. He can time trial and sprint and he's very comfortable in the bunch. I expect our Classics team will be a natural home for him.”
Regardless of what his role might become, Hepburn is happy to have found a home with ORICA-GreenEDGE.
“Every time I pull on the ORICA-GreenEDGE jersey, I’m not just representing the team but my country also,” said Hepburn. “That’s really special for all of us Australians on this team. Every time we can pull off a victory together as a really good bunch of mates, it’s a highlight.”