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OTHER CYCLING : Track Racing Last Updated: 8 Aug 2018 - 6:19:59 PM

By Heather Boyle, CI Communications Officer
7 Aug 2018,

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EUROPEAN CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS - Women's Madison 8th, Potts 11th Elimination, Stewart 13th Keirin

7th August 2018

The Women's Madison - © (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

The Women’s Madison of Lydia Gurley and Lydia Boylan have finished 8th at the European Championships in Glasgow today. The 120 lap race was fast paced from the start, with no teams gaining a lap throughout the 30km. Gold went to Denmark, silver to Russia and bronze to Netherlands.

An attack with 25 laps to go saw the Irish women look for a lap, but with the points tight at the top, they were not given the opportunity – they held on for second in the sprint, and the much needed 3 points to put them into 8th place. Last year at this event Gurley and Boylan won a silver medal; with the Madison now on the Olympic Programme, the standard of racing in this event increases each year.

Speaking after the event Gurley said “it was really tough, really quick. We started quite well which was good, but then it blew up – it was just so rapid, and we weren’t really in the right position for the sprints. That put us on the back foot a bit – but we picked up some points, and got a bit more experience at the bigger races with the longer laps”

The Irish duo were attempted to get a lap, but as the race panned out it was clear that it would come down to sprint points. Boylan explained – “we are not quite at the point where we can consistently compete in the sprint – both Lydia Gurley and I are attacking riders and definitely prefer to get off the front either on our own or in a small group. Today it just didn’t work out for us, it was frantic from start to finish. Bad positioning cost us, to be able to make an attack you need to be at the front of the bunch, it’s a long way around when you’re at the back.”

At the World Cups the distance for the Women’s Madison is 80 laps, significantly shorter than today’s 120 lap race.

“We will watch that with a bit of disappointment because we know we have the legs for this,” Boylan added, “but there are positives to take from it too. We had a much better start than we have had and we still had the legs at the end. I think we will take a lot of confidence from that. The World and European Champs are the only races where you race the full distance – it’s 120 laps, whereas it’s only 80 laps at the World Cups.”

While there are several opportunities for the men’s teams to compete at a high level throughout the year, there are not as many races for the women, with it being so new on the Olympic programme, and championship programme. Gurley explains how they take they take the opportunities when they can – “the guys have the 6-days races where they get to race Madison over six days, but for the women you don’t get so many opportunities, and you wouldn’t always get the same standard as here or sixteen in the field so we are just going to have to try to be more confident and be in the right positions.”

Robyn Stewart in the Kerin - © (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

Earlier this morning an incredible ride from Robyn Stewart in the Women’s Keirin saw her just miss out on the one place on offer to the semi finals in her repechage at the European Championships in Glasgow today. The Belfast woman was fourth in her heat earlier today. With the first two automatically progressing to the semi-finals Stewart had to race again in the repechages. The winner would progress to the second round.

Stewart raced a tactically smart race making her move with one lap to go, passing the Lithuanian and Italian riders. In the home straight Stewart pushed again moving around double European Champion Daria Shmeleva of Russia. On the line she had to settle for second in what was a phenomenal race for the relative newcomer to cycling.

Speaking after the race Stewart said – “I’m still buzzing – it was exciting for me. I tried to be patient and tried to look for gaps and come underneath, and do the opposite to what I did in the first round. In the first round I just went full gas. It was really close there in the end – and I feel positive.

“Daria, the girl that won, she’s the current sprint and 500m European Champion, so not too bad that I didn’t quite get around her.

“I would have loved to have make the last twelve – that would have been a real dream. But I do believe – when I see what I have done in the last three years – and Tokyo is two years away – big things can happen! I can get my head around these tactics and physically get a lot better. I believe if I can get there I can really compete.”

Mark Potts in the Elimination Race - © (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

Marc Potts has finished 11th in the Men’s Elimination Race at the European Championships in Glasgow today. Potts was looking strong for the first half of the race moving easily through the groups. When the bunch lined out he found himself towards the back and at a disadvantage in the tactical race where the last rider over the line on every second lap is knocked out.

“It felt like at the start of the race I was doing the right things and making the right moves and I was reading it quite well, and not really using any legs. About five laps before I went out there I made the mistake of not coming over the top trying to be more savvy, and thinking I was saving a bit more energy.

“I was probably thinking I was a bit more comfortable than I was, and I got caught out coming around the last corner there. It went from me thinking I was safe to being completely out. It was a tough lesson to learn, but I was always going to learn something in this race.”

Potts is targeting the Omnium for the Tokyo Olympics and has been riding strongly in this event throughout the summer. However, due to the earlier date of these Championships, English was the only Irish rider who could compete in the Omnium in Glasgow in a bid to qualify points for the World Cup season which kicks off in October.

“Felix had to do the Omnium this week to qualify for the World Cups. It was kind of sickening watching it this week because I know that’s what I want to be doing, although he did an awesome ride, and I’d be delighted to come out with a ride like that. Felix can pass on a load of knowledge to me – he’s been doing it for a long time now so it’s great, he can pass on any mistakes he has made and hopefully I won’t make them myself.”

Today was the final day of track cycling, attention now moves to the mountain bike race – with Gareth McKee representing Ireland this afternoon.

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 Madison

Gold DENMARK (42)

8th IRELAND (3)

Men’s Elimination

Gold Matthew Walls (GB)
Silver Rui Oliviera (POR)
Bronze Szymon Krawczyk (POL)

11th Marc Potts (IRL)

Women’s Keirin

Heat 1
4th Robyn Stewart (IRL)

Repechage 4
2nd Robyn Stewart (IRL)


Gold Mathilde Gros (FRA)
Silver Nicky Degrendele (BEL)
Bronze Daria Shmeleva (RUS)

13th Robyn Stewart (IRL)


6th August 2018


Lydia Boylan - © (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

Lydia Boylan has finished 5th in the Women’s Omnium at the European Championships in Glasgow today. Strong performances in both the Tempo Race and the final Points Race contributed to her high overall placing in this Olympic event in a highly competitive field.

The Omnium is a four-race event with the winner being the rider who accumulates the highest number of points across four bunch races. Boylan scored highly in both the Tempo Race, where she finished second and the Points Race where she was sixth, resulting in a fifth place in the event which was won by World Champion Kirsten Wild (NED). Katie Archibald (GBR) won silver and Letizia Paternoster (ITA) won bronze.

Speaking after her race Boylan said “I knew I had to go in aggressive – But fifth overall in this race, in this strong field, I really wasn’t expecting that. I always have confidence in the points race, I know I can ride hard and last a good 80 laps.”

The Dublin rider bridged across to a strong break, taking a lap – “I think quite a few people who are my nearest rivals missed out on that lap I took. My legs are there, and when I know my legs are there I ride a lot more confidently and I’m not afraid to go with the moves, and that’s kind of the key to success for me. Big up to my coaches David and James for getting me in the shape that I’m in.”

The Points Race is a tactical fast race that comes at the end of a long day of racing – “In the Points Race you just have to take your opportunities. You don’t lose a lot of energy diving down and going with the moves – if they work they work, if they don’t they don’t – you’re better to be in them than not in them. It worked out well today.”

Tomorrow Boylan switches her focus to the Madison where she competes with Lydia Gurley, who was fifth in the Points Race at these Championships. Before these championships they were in Majorca on an intense training camp – “Both of us have really bonded a lot better during the last camp and did a lot of Madison training together, and Lydia’s legs are obviously good too – it’s just really promising. We had a lot more of the Sports Institute team out with us, and it helps us get into a better frame of mind, and I think that really showed today.”

Tomorrow is the final day of track cycling, with Boylan and Gurley competing in the Madison – an event that has been added to the Olympic Programme for Tokyo. Robyn Stewart will also be in action, competing in the Keirin, and Marc Potts will compete in the Elimination Race. Away from the track Gareth McKee will be competing in the Mountain Bike racing.

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 Omnium

Scratch: 9th Lydia Boylan (IRL)

Tempo: 2nd Lydia Boylan (IRL)

Elimination: 14th Lydia Boylan (IRL)

Points: 6th Lydia Boylan (IRL)


Gold Kirsten Wild (NED)
Silver Katie Archibald (GBR)
Bronze Letizia Paternoster (ITA)

5th Lydia Boylan (IRL)


6th August 2018

EUROPEAN CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS - Men's Madison 11th - Boylan Lying 5th at Halfway Point in Omnium

The Men's Madison - © (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

The Men’s Madison of Felix English and Mark Downey have finished 11th in the European Championships in Glasgow. This is the first event in the Olympic qualification process, and was won by a dominant Belgium pairing. World Champions Germany won silver and Great Britain moved in to the bronze medal position with the final sprint.

Orla Walsh in the 500TT - © (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

Earlier this morning Orla Walsh finished 15th in the 500m Time Trial with a personal best time of 36.478, which was just outside the Irish national record of 36.290 set by Robyn Stewart.

At the halfway mark in the Women’s Omnium Lydia Boylan is lying in fifth place, after finishing 2nd in the Tempo Race and 9th in the Scratch Race – the overall winner after four events will be the person with the most points. Competition continues this evening.

Speaking after the Madison Final Felix English was disappointed with their result, but drew positives from the race – “It’s disappointing, we had a really tough morning with the qualification, we had to go a lot harder than we thought we would. But I thought that if I rode a controlled race this afternoon that it would have been okay.

“The things that we have improved on tactically have now shown up our other flaws. Like we are able to follow on the right laps and schedule in for the right time for the sprints which we could never do before. But now that we are on those laps, we are going too hard in the sprint and from too far back so positioning in the bunch is now our main focus.

The combination of Downey’s endurance and the turn of pace of English plays a factor in their race plan – “at the start of the race the plan is for me to go for the sprints, but then you have to be really fast for the lead in too. Most of the guys are paired up with two really quick guys, and the race is so fast now you can’t rely on strength it’s just all speed.”

This event is part of the qualification process for the Tokyo Olympics, and English is not really fazed by the finish position yet – “For qualification we need to be top eight in the rankings, and nations from other events will come out of that, but at the same time you don’t want to be relying on that – you want to get results.”

Lydia Boylan finished the second event in the Omnium – the Tempo Race in second place, attacking with ten laps to go. The Tempo Race is a fast-paced event with points awarded for the first over the line on each lap, which meant the Dublin rider picked up ten vital points to place her second.

Pleased with her Tempo Boylan said “I can’t really match the other girls for brute power – but that’s what’s cool about the omnium, there are a lot of different tactics you can roll. I love the Tempo because it is just so hard and fast all the time, and it’s literally who has the best legs at the end, the one who is willing to put it on the line.

“My plan with David (coach) was just to attack it at some point, and it worked. I was so close to getting the lap, but I picked up enough points along the way to get a really good position.”

In the Omnium the overall winner is the highest placed rider at the end of four events, with points being awarded for the finish position in each event. Earlier this morning she finished 9th in the Scratch Race. Boylan competes in the Elimination Race and the Points Race later on this evening.

Also in action was Orla Walsh, competing in the 500m TT, achieving a PB in this event. The Time Trial is often described as one of the toughest events on the programme – “it’s just pedal until you’re blacking out! That’s how it feels – just keep going until the line.

Walsh is relatively new to cycling and is a member of the Talent ID squad, “I only joined a cycling club in 2016, and last year as part of the talent transfer programme I was selected to train with the girls over in Majorca so we have been doing that for the past year. This is our second competition ever, so this is all brand new, and we are getting to know it and learn how to race.

“I was just riding my bike to work in 2015 and really enjoyed it – the fact that I’m here racing against the best in the world is just crazy. It’s really inspirational and giving me motivation to train harder, keep going and get better.”

Later this evening Boylan competes in the Elimination Race at 19.01 and the Points Race at 20.06.

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 Madison Final

Gold Belgium 60
Silver Germany 49
Bronze Great Britain 38

11th Ireland -2

Women’s 500TT Qualifiers

15th Orla Walsh 36.478

Women’s Omnium (2 of 4 races complete)

Scratch: 9th Lydia Boylan (IRL)

Tempo: 2nd Lydia Boylan (IRL)

Overall at halfway: 5th Lydia Boylan (IRL)


6th August 2018


The Men’s Madison of Felix English and Mark Downey are through to the Madison Final at 14.41 today having qualified second out of their heat at the European Championships in Glasgow today. The Irish duo were competing in the first heat of the day with seven teams out of nine progressing to the next round.

The tactic of the Irish team was to attack early and pick up early qualification points. Downey described an aggressive first half of the race – “Felix was doing an intense effort right from the start. Our coach David (Muntaner) had said that if we can qualify early and go full out from the start then we could qualify easily. But it’s always a bit of stress because people are constantly scoring.”

English felt the early effort in the closing 30 laps, and Ireland briefly lost touch with the lead bunch – “I went off a bit too hard in the first 60 laps – we went for every sprint and I wasn’t really saving anything – I was just going full gas. But Mark got us back on again, which we needed – if we didn’t get back on there we weren’t going to qualify.

“Then we looked at who was sitting last and we saw it was Ukraine, so we just decided to sit on Ukraine and as long as they didn’t take any points we were safe. They attacked with 7 or 8 laps to go and we just sat on them and didn’t give them a turn, and then we were safe.”

Next on the track is Lydia Boylan kicking off her European Championship campaign with the Women’s Omnium. Orla Walsh will also be competing in the Women’s 500TT.

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 Madison Final

Great Britain

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