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Frustration for Felix in Scratch - 19th at Worlds

Frustration for Felix in Scratch - 19th at Worlds

Frustration for Felix in Scratch Race at Worlds

Felix English has finished 19th in the Scratch Race at the 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships today. The twenty-five-year-old was the sole Irish rider in action on the second day of competition in the Hong Kong Velodrome at the Worlds which run from 12th – 16th April 2017. In a frustrating race where all his attacks were neutralised, English finished in the bunch with the medals going to Adrian Teklinski (POL), Lucas Liss (GER) and Christopher Latham (GB).

English animated the race, establishing himself in five significant moves throughout the 60 lap, 15km bunch race. Unfortunately for English, one of the strongest riders in the race, the fast pace saw each move being reeled back, and no rider lapping the field.

Frustrated with the result English said – “It was quite an easy race, and I was trying to get away, but nobody was working. I kept trying to follow moves; you see a small gap, then work hard but people wouldn’t work with me. Even when it would come back, normally there are counter attacks, but this didn’t happen.”

With eight laps to go Joao Matias of Portugal attacked, which prompted eventual winner Teklinski to chase. The Polish rider passed Matias and quickly gained half a lap. Liss (Germany) chased with five laps remaining, and Statham won a sprint finish for bronze.

English described Teklinski’s attack saying – “He came from quite far back so had a lot of speed. It was at a point where a lot of people were stalling and starting to think about the sprint, so we weren’t ready for him, and I wasn’t in a position to go with him. I should have gone when the German rider went, I should have just attacked with five laps to go, but didn’t. Then when GB came over the top I knew the race was over. In my heart I wanted to win it.”

In the Scratch Race tactics come into play and in many cases the race doesn’t allow for each rider’s plan to materialise – “I went into the race looking to save energy in the first twenty laps, to make sure I was in the moves for the second twenty and then in the final twenty laps the plan was to be aggressive. It was just a fast race then, with nobody getting away, and I lost a bit of heart when the Polish guy got away; I went into it to win it.”

English races again on Sunday in the Madison with Mark Downey, a race in which they won gold and silver at the last two World Cups – “I’m looking forward to a race that is more strength based, where we can show what we can do. In training, we are doing the fastest times we have ever done on the track. I like working in a team with Mark, it’s extra nice when there’s success.”

“In the Madison, you don’t have the choice to hesitate, we push each other on; I have to push it because that’s what Mark is doing too. While I’d love to have won today, if I had the choice of a rainbow jersey in the Scratch Race or the Madison, I’d choose the Madison, especially after the way we rode the last two events.”

Tomorrow Lydia Boylan will be in action throughout the day in the newly structured Omnium event – with four events in one day. At 12 noon, Irish time Mark Downey will be competing in the Points Race, an event in which the twenty-year-old from Dromore excels, having already won two silvers in previous Junior and U23 European Championships, and two golds from the World Cups this season.

Over the five days of racing the six-person Irish team will compete across nine events, concluding with the Men’s Madison on Easter Sunday. This year Ireland is fielding one of its strongest teams, having won six medals at this level since the beginning of the season in October.

The competition takes place in Hong Kong, with the seven-hour time difference ensuring the finals will be occurring no later than 3.30pm Irish time.

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