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Fifth for English at Euro Champs

Fifth for English at Euro Champs

Ireland’s Felix English has finished fifth in the Omnium at the 2017 UEC Track Elite European Championships in Berlin today. The European title in the four-race event went to Spain’s Albert Torres Barcelo; Julius Johansen (Denmark) won silver, and reigning world champion from France, Benjamin Thomas, won bronze. Earlier today Lydia Gurley was 12th in the Points Race, JB Murphy 14th in the Elimination Race, and Eoin Mullen finished 23rd in the Sprint.

English had a superb day of racing across the four-race event, sitting in fourth place until the final Points Race.

“I’m satisfied with fifth,”
said English, “I went into the last race trying to get a medal, but fifth is much better than what I did last year, and I’m a lot more consistent. The guys who were ahead of me were the World Champion, European Champion, World Cup medallist and the Junior Road Race Champion. I’ll be racing against them again at the Worlds, and hopefully will progress again.”

The Omnium is an Olympic event which was re-formatted for the 2020 Games to include four bunch races, and a qualifying race, all in one day. A fourth-place finish in the Scratch Race and in the Elimination Race ensured the 25-year-old started the final Points Race in a strong fourth place, four points off a medal.

“It was a long day, and I was smart about not wasting too much energy, even in the ward up. We had a qualifier in the morning too for the first time – that’s five hard races in a day. I was trying to conserve energy all day and then race the best guys in the world! I felt in proper contention all day – but I’m still making mistakes.”

English was particularly strong in the Elimination Race, where he finished fourth – “I was really happy with it. I was really pleased with my recovery in the race – I went to the front straight away, and it was really hard. I ended up at the back, but my legs came around in the race, I’m really pleased as that’s something I couldn’t do before.”

The Omnium structure, finishing with the Points Race, lends itself to an unpredictable race, with sprint points being awarded every ten laps, and twenty points being awarded to riders who lap the field. A phenomenal final race from Spaniard Torres Barcelo saw him jump from fifth to first, after gaining two laps, and a crucial forty points.

English picked up several points throughout the 25km race, but missed the winning move, that saw some of the main contenders gain a lap, leaving the gap too wide for English in the latter part of the race. With double points up for grabs in the final sprint, the Irish man finished third securing fifth place.

“This year I fully committed myself to the track, with the Omnium and the Madison in the Olympics in a few years’ time, I really want to focus on it. In the omnium, especially, you need to be racing all season to qualify. I went to Majorca in early August to train with my coach David (Muntaner). I’m convinced we train harder than anyone else, and we are getting stronger and stronger every year. It’s going in the right direction.”

In her Points Race Lydia Gurley raced to the front of the field for much of the race, and was disappointed with her result. With 40 laps to go the AeroCoach supported rider made a significant move with Verena Eberhardt (Austria), almost gaining a lap.

“I was disappointed really,”
said the Galway girl, “the breakaway effort with the Austrian was a real opportunity, but I positioned myself poorly on her wheel, so when she went up, it forced me up. It was a mistake that I will learn from and move on.”

Gurley said “it was a strange race. I was always with the strong riders, but none of those breakaways worked. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes. I’ll get the head refocused now for the Scratch Race on Saturday.”

Making a jump to the elite category, JB Murphy was well positioned in the field for the early part of the Elimination Race, before being narrowly pipped on line in the seventh sprint, resulting in a 14th place finish for the European Junior Silver Medallist in this event.

Tomorrow is another big day for Ireland with junior World and European silver medallist Xeno Young kicking off proceedings with the Individual Pursuit. Mark Downey competes in the Points Race while Lydia Boylan races in the Omnium. Robyn Stewart and Lydia Gurley will also be in action, competing in the Keirin and the Scratch Race.

Competition runs from the 18-22 October, with nine Irish riders competing across fourteen events.


Men’s Omnium


Silver: JOHANSEN Julius (DEN)

Bronze: THOMAS Benjamin (FRA)

5th: ENGLISH Felix (IRL)

Women’s Points Race


Silver: BADYKOVA Gulnaz (RUS)

Bronze: SHARAKOVA Tatsiana (BLR)

12th: GURLEY Lydia (IRL)

Men’s Elimination


Silver: PISKUNOV Maksim (RUS)

Bronze: OLIVEIRA Rui (POR)


Men’s Sprint

VIGIER Sebastien (FRA)

Silver: HOOGLAND Jeffrey (NED)

Bronze: DMITRIEV Denis (RUS)

23rd: MULLEN Eoin (IRL)

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