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Lydia Gurley 15th in Scratch Race at Track Worlds

Lydia Gurley 15th in Scratch Race at Track Worlds

Lydia Gurley Makes World Championship Debut with 15th Place

Lydia Gurley kicked off the Irish World Championship campaign today finishing 15th in the Scratch Race. Gurley was the sole Irish rider in action today, competing in the 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships which take place in the Hong Kong Velodrome and run from 12th – 16th April 2017. The gold medals went to Italy’s Rachele Barbieri, with Elinor Barker (GB) and Jolien d’Hoore (Belgium) taking silver and bronze.

The Scratch Race is a 40 lap or 10km bunch race, with the medals being awarded to the first three over the line. This results in tactical aggressive racing, with the more endurance based riders keen to lap the field to optimise their chances of a podium place. During the first half of the race the bunch remained together, with no breaks sticking until Sarah Hammer (USA) launched a blistering attack with 23 laps to go, and was joined by five riders who went on to lap the field.

Gurley was disappointed to miss the break, having launched a significant chase with Ukraine’s Tetyana Klimchenko – “I was a bit disappointed after the race, as I was strong, and comfortable in the race. I missed the main group after slightly hesitating, so the chase with the Ukraine rider was a key moment for me. Usually with two riders chasing you work well together, but she kept forcing me up the track, pulling up at bad points, so we eventually lost the gap we formed. It’s just one of those things; I gave it a go, it didn’t work out, I’ll accept it and move on.”

Making her World Championship debut Gurley was the first Irish to compete, and is looking forward to the rest of the competition – “it was my first World Champs, and I had to settle my own nerves before the race, which I managed to do and was strong and comfortable in the group. I’m glad to have this one in the bag and now I can move on and look forward to the next races.”

“World Championships are like World Cups, but with more pressure. Every time you race there is an opportunity to win the rainbow jersey, so the competition is harder and the racing is harder. There’s more at stake, but you expect that.”

The Irish Team have been performing strongly in this track season across all categories, and Gurley reflects on the positivity in the team – “I have two more races in the Championships, and I’m feeling confident after today. We have all worked really hard, and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of them racing too, we have a great team.

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.

On Thursday Felix English will be the sole rider flying the flag for Ireland, competing in the Scratch Race, an event in which he has come close to the podium on many occasions in the past year.

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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