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OTHER CYCLING : Track Racing Last Updated: 7 Aug 2018 - 7:17:49 PM

By Heather Boyle, CI Communications Officer
5 Aug 2018,

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5th August 2018

EUROPEAN CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS - Mark Downey Finishes 9th in the Points Race

Mark Downey in the Points Race - © (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

Mark Downey has finished in 9th place in the Points Race at the European Championships in a fast race which was dominated by Poland’s Wojciech Pszczolarski who lapped the field four times. Kenny Ketele (BEL) won silver and Stefan Matzner (AUT) won bronze.

Despite taking two laps and picking up several sprint points it was not to be for Downey, who has won medals in this event at Junior and U23 level – “It was a pretty weird race to be honest – it was not the usual race where it is pretty full all the time, it was stop starty a bit, like a kermesse.”

Downey has been competing on the road in recent months, racing as a professional cyclist with Team Wiggins, so has not had much time on the track – “I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into this – I spent just two days on the track since the Commonwealth Games so I was hoping to produce something out of the goods, but obviously I didn’t pull it off. I have spent a lot of time on the road, and a lot of guys over the past few days coming off the road seemed to be really cleaning up – for me, not so much.”

During the race Downey lapped the field twice, and kept trying for that elusive third lap – “I got two laps, I moved at the right time which is always a good thing. I recovered and then hit them. But I needed to do it on my own, and I knew that.

The Points Race is a tactical bunch race with sprint laps every ten laps – and twenty laps on offer for riders who lap the field. The Dromore man knew that he needed a third lap to get into the medals –

Downew taking lap points race - © (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

“That’s why I kept trying, and sort of sitting up, because I didn’t want to bring anyone with me. I was hoping that if I could go out I could pick up a few points on the way as well. The guy in second had 66 points and I had 45, so if I took another lap and another five sprint points, then I’d be guaranteed a medal, and that’s what I had in my head. I kept trying but my moves didn’t work in the end, but we live and learn.”

Downey is determined to pull out a big result this season – “the road season has been really good this year, it’s been really positive so I’m kind of knocking on the door there too for a big result. Maybe I didn’t get it here, but I’m really focused and really motivated to get a good result before the season is out, and hopefully I can pull it off. The Madison is tomorrow – so I’ll have a good sleep tonight and maybe tomorrow is the day!”

Tomorrow is a big day for the track cyclists, with Downey competing in the Madison with Felix English at 11am, Lydia Boylan will be tackling the Omnium and Orla Walsh races the 500m Time Trial.

History is made this week when Glasgow and Berlin host the inaugural European Championships, an exciting multi-sport event bringing together some of the continent’s leading sports, including the existing UEC cycling championships.


Men’s Points Race

GOLD Wojciech Pszczolarski (POL) 102 Points
SILVER Kenny Ketele (BEL) 83 Points
BRONZE Stefan Matzner (AUT) 71 Points

9th Mark Downey (IRL) 45 Points


5th August 2018

EUROPEAN CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS - Seventh for Shannon McCurley in Elimination Race

Shannon McCurley in the Elimination Race - © (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

Shannon McCurley finished 7th in the Women’s Elimination Race at the European Championships in Glasgow this morning. The Irish woman was looking strong and comfortable in the race before a tip of wheels on the home straight cost her a higher placing. The race was won by Laura Kenny (GB), with Germany’s Anna Knauer taking silver and Evgenia Augustinas from Russia winning bronze.

McCurley was moving easily in her bunch, before the bad timing with a tip of wheels with the 2017 Team Pursuit European Champion, Elisa Balsamo from Italy.

“I felt good legs felt good I felt comfortable there. I was hanging around the good girls all race up the front, and unfortunately hit the Italian’s wheel coming into the finishing straight of the elimination lap and it cost me.

“The Elimination Race is very well suited to me, I love the argy bargy, I’m not afraid to take a gap. And I was confident, it just didn’t go my way. My first one so what can I say, more to come.”

Ireland’s first female track cycling Olympian has recently switched from the sprint based Kierin Racing to endurance this season.

“It’s been good, I’ve dropped about 11kg, so that’s probably been the big one for me, and switching training from gym work to three or four hours on the road, it’s just huge! I can’t wait for more – it’s early days so I think it’s looking good, it’s promising.”

Despite overcoming a series of serious injuries from a crash last year, determined McCurley has her sights firmly on Tokyo.

“Ten months ago, I was knocked off by a motorbike while I was out training on the road. It was pretty brutal – I suffered with concussion really bad for about four months, so mentally it really messed me about.

“I couldn’t straighten my arm and I also fractured my left capula in my arm – so I was in a bad way. Training wise anyhow. Mentally I thought I was done. I didn’t know what to do, but I just kept pushing away on the ergo at home.

“Then finally I got the plate taken out and I thought I was better. I’m still having physio twice a week. I had a final surgery just three months ago to remove a bone that was getting in the way so I can almost straighten my arm now.

“On the bike I’ll feel it after – but not during, I don’t think about it at all. I raced two or three world cups with it last year – with the plate still in and I was very lopsided on the bike. I couldn’t get the power out and then I went home and got the plate and everything removed.

“We got a little bit more out of it, but that was when I decided, I’m going endurance. I’m much more suited to it, this is where I’m going to get the results – so this is what I want to be doing. For Tokyo the Madison and the Omnium are the big ones for me – I think more so the Omnium. Over the next two years the more I build up I’m going to have a good chance in that.”

This afternoon Alice Sharpe is competing in the Women’s Road Race in Glasgow, and Mark Downey takes on the Men’s Points Race later on tonight.

History is made this week when Glasgow and Berlin host the inaugural European Championships, an exciting multi-sport event bringing together some of the continent’s leading sports, including the existing UEC cycling championships.


Women’s Elimination Race

GOLD Laura Kenny (IRL)
BRONZE Evgenia Augustinas (RUSSIA)

7th Shannon McCurley (IRELAND)


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