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Stewart Hits Top Gear in Keirin Tokyo 2020 Qualifying

Stewart Hits Top Gear in Keirin Tokyo 2020 Qualifying

December 16, 2018 - BELFAST’S Robyn Stewart now ranks 14th in the UCI Track World Cup Women’s Keirin rankings after an attacking display at Round 4 in London.

The 28-year-old, who took up cycling less than four years ago, posted her second-best Keirin score of this Track World Cup season in London’s Olympic Velodrome, in perhaps her hardest heats yet.

In the first round, Stewart faced Commonwealth Champion Stephanie Morton among her rivals, bravely attaching early then digging deep to finish fourth. That set up a repechage race that included Great Britain’s former U23 champion Katy Marchant, and ended up being by far the fastest of the four heats at 11.208s - Morton winning the Gold Medal in 11.297s.

“I attacked and went as hard as I could and the fastest rider won, so I can’t be disappointed with that,” said Stewart of the repechage. “Unfortunately didn’t make it through to the semi-finals, which I would have loved to have done but I’m happy with my performance in the repechage.”

Looking back, she added: “I got a bit carried away in the first round and tried to go too hard too soon, but it’s all learning and hopefully next time I’ll make it through to the semis.”

Marchant was one of two riders to make it into the Gold Medal Final from the repechage, further highlighting the strength of Stewart’s performance as she continues to try to become the second Irish woman to qualify for the Keirin at the Olympic in Tokyo 2020.

Stewart’s next opportunity is likely to be the final round of the Track World Cup in Hong Kong in January, with the UCI Track Cycling World Champions to follow at the end of February in Poland.

The former hockey player turned to cycling after marrying British track cycling sprint coach Kevin Stewart, and being inspired by his brother Mark’s rides at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Her first discipline is the Sprint, with Keirin coming later, after team mate Shannon McCurley switched to bunch racing following Rio 2016.

McCurley was also in action on the final day in London, riding her second Madison in years, and teaming up with Lydia Boylan in the two-person race for the first time. They finished 8th, landing Ireland’s best result in Women’s Madison of this season.

Ireland is now ranked 10th in the UCI Track World Cup Women’s Madison rankings. Marc Potts took on the Men’s Omnium, escaping several heavy crashes across the four hectic events to finish 12th in Ireland’s final ride of London 2018.

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