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Irvine wins Ireland's first men's world track cycling medal in 116 years

Photo: VASILY FEDOSENKO/Reuters

Martyn Irvine won Ireland's first men's world track cycling championship medal in 116 years.

MINSK, Belarus (AP) -- Martyn Irvine made history for Ireland on Thursday by winning its first men's medals in 116 years at the world track cycling championships.

Irvine won the silver in the individual pursuit and within an hour was the champion of the scratch race. He's 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 away from Andreas Mueller of Austria.

"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 and while Stefan Kueng of Switzerland took bronze.

In a rematch of last year's Olympics 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 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 500-meter time trial. She was the Olympic bronze medalist in keirin.

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

Two-time world junior champion Rebecca Angharad James of Britain was third, earning a second bronze of the championships. She was third with Victoria Williams in the team sprint.

In the men's team sprint, the German team of Rene Enders, Stefan Botticher and Maximilian Levy beat New Zealand by 0.049 seconds. France edged defending champion Australia for bronze.

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