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Top Ten for Downey and Boylan at Track Worlds

Top Ten for Downey and Boylan at Track Worlds

Marked Man Mark Settles for 10thin Points, Boylan Battles to 9th in the Omnium

Mark Downey finished tenth in the Points Race at the 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships today, with Lydia Boylan finishing 9th in the Omnium. Downey entered the event as one of the pre-race favourites following a dominating season in the World Cups, resulting in his being marked out of a top result. In the newly formatted four event Omnium, an aggressive final Points Race saw Boylan lap the field and tied for 8th place.

The Men’s Points Race was dominated by Australia’s Cameron Meyer, who won gold, with Kenny de Ketele (Belgium) taking silver and Wojciech Pszczolarski (Poland) taking bronze. While disappointed with the result, Downey was not downbeat about his tenth place – “I think I was a marked man in the race, and didn’t know how to deal with that position.”

“Every time I made a move it was counter-attacked. It’s frustrating, but it’s not the last chance I’ll ever have, tomorrow morning I’ll be able to take positives from the race.”

Having won gold in this event at the World Cups in Cali and Apeldoorn this season, Downey is confident in his ability – “There were a couple of guys there who I’ve competed against and beaten at this level, but Cameron was head and shoulders above the rest of us. It gave me a real taste of what this level is like. It’s nice having people talk about you going into the race, but a bit of a bummer when you’re in the race. It takes something special to do what Meyer did.”

This season the Irish Track Team has won six significant medals, it was not lost on the Dromore twenty-year-old – “This was one of the best seasons Cycling Ireland ever had in the World Cups, and this won’t put a dampener on that. It’s been a long year with both the road and track and this was a hard race; a lot of people said it was the fastest ever!”

With 44 laps of the 160 laps remaining Downey attacked hard “I waited until everyone was spent and tried to go for a medal, it was all or nothing, I gave it a real go because I wasn’t going to not try. We got a group away, but they weren’t committing to it. I thought that I would do a few pulls and go again, but nobody was willing to do anything.”

Eventual winner Meyer was outstanding in the event, regaining the title he won in 2012 – “When Meyer went again he had the legs, he showed everyone how to use those legs tonight. I might not have got the better of him this time, but I’ve a lot more years in the tank. Give me a few years and then we’ll talk!”

Downey competes again on Sunday with Felix English in the Madison, and has already turned his focus on that – “Last night Felix took positives out of his race, and I’ll take the positives out of this. Missing out on the medal is definitely a big motivation for the Madison, I want to go out with a bang and forget about last night and tonight. I’m looking forward to Sunday, one big last push.”

In the Omnium Boylan was 11th in the Scratch Race, 10th in the Elimination, 15th in the Elimination and 4th in the Points, resulting in her finishing 9th overall in a tight event won by GB’s Katie Archibald ahead of Kirsten Wild (NED) and Amy Cure (Aus).

This is the first-time Boylan has competed in the Omnium at the World Championships, and is happy with her top ten – “Top ten was a realistic goal coming into the race – just qualifying for the Worlds in the Omnium was a big step up! This year I’m just making little mistakes that can be fixed easily, not big ones, and my training with David [Muntaner – Cycling Ireland Track Coach] is paying off. My legs felt super today, and that helps me think more of the tactical side of the race.”

Previously the Omnium was run as a six-race event over two days; this year a new format has been introduced, with four bunch races being raced in one day – “I really like the new format, it leads to more aggressive racing and is more interesting for spectators and riders. For me it’s a great opportunity to get stuck into the bunch stuff, and I especially love the Points Race at the end. I always love getting stuck into the Points Race.”

In the Points Race Boylan was one of four riders to lap the field, having instigated the move – “I knew the elite riders were focused on going for the sprint, so I opened up to take the lap. I was disappointed with the Elimination Race as for the first time I felt quite comfortable in it, so it motivated me going into the Points.”

The fast-paced Tempo Race was another good race for Boylan, where she picked up seven of the sprint points – “I knew there was going to be a move but I messed up and missed it, so I refocused and attacked, I took a lot of the less used sprints towards the end, but didn’t gain a lap. I’m quite excited moving forward – there are just little mistakes to fix, I’m a whole lot more confident in this event now.

Race winner Katie Archibald is Boylan’s teammate on Team WNT Pro-Cycling – “I know how strong Katie is, we just raced a stage race together, she’s a pure racer. I’m looking forward to getting stuck back into the road season racing with a World and Olympic Champion – she’s a great teammate.”

The focus for the rest of the evening will be on recovery for Boylan who will be racing in the Madison with Lydia Gurley tomorrow – “We train hard in preparation for the Worlds, so it’s like the European Championships, we have a lot of hard races together. I’m confident my legs will come around.”

This is the first time the Madison will be on the World Championship programme for women – “I’m pretty excited about the Madison – it’s a pretty big deal that it is in the World Championships for the first time, and it’s exciting to be in it for that. Training is going really well for it and we are pretty chilled out about racing it. There’s no pressure on it, it will be our third time racing together, but we are looking forward to seeing what we can do – training with Mark and Felix is awesome and our technique is a lot better than the World Cup in Glasgow.”

Anna Turvey will be competing in the 3km Individual Pursuit tomorrow, along with the women’s Madison of Lydia Gurley and Lydia Boylan. This is the first time that the Madison will be included for women in the Track World Championships and the Irish duo finished 6th in it at the World Cup in Glasgow. Turvey won bronze in the Pursuit at the European Championships last 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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