||Last Updated: Mar 3, 2018 - 11:22:17 AM
Gutsy Racing from Irish at first World Championships
Track World Championships in Apeldoorn - Report 1
By Heather Boyle, CI Communications Officer
Mar 2, 2018,
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1st March 2018
It was a day of strong debuts for Ireland at the 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships today, with Marc Potts finishing 13th in the Men’s Scratch Race, and Robyn Stewart 24th in the Women’s Sprint after qualifying out of the heats to the match sprint rounds. The World Championships take place in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, from the 28th February – 4th March.
The Scratch Race was fast paced and stacked with attacks throughout the 15km, sixty laps bunch race. With just over thirty laps to go a trio of Italy, Belarus and Australia made the significant move, gaining a lap with twenty laps remaining. This trio made up the eventual podium with Yauheni Karaliok from Belarus taking the world title ahead of Italy’s Michele Scartezzini and Australia’s Callum Scotson.
Ireland’s Potts raced hard, moving towards the front of the bunch in the closing laps, netting 13th position. The medals were decided between the three riders who had lapped the field, with the remainder of the bunch racing for positions.
Robyn Stewart was the first Irish woman to qualify for the Sprint at the World Championships, and her time of 11.360 seconds for 200m was enough to progress to the next round. In the match sprint round Stewart was outsprinted by Ukraine’s Olena Starikova, with the winner only progressing.
Speaking after the event 28-year-old Stewart was happy with her debut at the World Championships – “Overall I was happy with my flying 200m, and I was pleasantly surprised with where I sat in relation to the other girls, and I was within hundredths of seconds of being quite a few places higher.”
Stewart was the 7th rider of 33 on the track, and after finishing her time of 11.360 seconds was the second fastest to that point. With 28 riders moving to the next round, it was a short wait for the Belfast rider before getting confirmation that she had qualified to the next round.
“I had a good start, and I knew after my race that I only needed one or two to go slower than me in order for me to qualify to the next round.”
The velodrome in Apeldoorn saw riders producing slower than normal times – “It wasn’t a PB, but this isn’t a fast track, so I’m happy. The track is slippy and flat, so I had to make sure that I was applying enough pressure on the front and back of the bike to stay solid on the track, so coming down the home straight you don’t get very much from the track – so I’m happy with how I went.”
In the next round for the match sprint, Stewart competed against Ukraine’s Olena Starikova – “I’m a bit disappointed with my performance in the match sprint – I didn’t get enough height and speed to really use my strength so it wasn’t my best race. I have a lot of take homes from it – but it certainly has given me fire in my belly for next year. This is where I’d like to shine next year.”
This was Stewart’s first World Championship event – “Putting on the jersey this morning felt extra special, it was a special moment. I’m now going to try to take in as much racing as I can – I get very inspired by watching, that’s how it all started for me.” Next up for Stewart is the Commonwealth Games in Australia next month.
Tomorrow Lydia Boylan will be competing in the Omnium, and Mark Downey will race in the Points Race. The 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships take place in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, from the 28th February – 4th March.
Men’s Scratch Race
Gold Yauheni Karaliok (BLR)
Silver Michele Scartezzini (ITA)
Bronze Callum Scotson (AUS)
13th Marc Potts (IRL)
Final podium TBC
1st Stephanie Morton AUS 10.645
2nd Pauline Sophie Grabosch GER 10.713
3rd Kristina Vogel GER 10.810
24th Robyn Stewart IRL 11.360
1st Olena Starikova UKR
2nd Robyn Stewart IRL
GURLEY 15th IN SCRATCH RACE AFTER BLISTERING ATTACK PULLED BACK
28th February 2018
Gutsy Gurley Passed in Closing Laps
Action kicked off for the Irish today at the 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, with Lydia Gurley finishing 15th in the Women’s Scratch Race. The World Championships take place in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, from the 28th February – 4th March.
A blistering attack by Gurley with ten laps to go was pulled back in the closing laps by Dutch powerhouse Kirsten Wild, winner of the gold medal in front of a home crowd. The silver medal went to Jolien d’Hoore from Belgium ahead of Denmark’s Amelie Dideriksen.
The 40 lap, 10km Scratch Race saw aggressive riding from the start, with Gurley being the first rider to make a significant move. The Galway girl, who has a World Cup medal in this event, attacked hard with ten laps to go gaining half a lap quickly.
“I gave it a go, but it didn’t work out this time,” Gurley said after the race, “I had let a few attacks go, and waited until the group tired. As the bunch moved up the track, I stayed low. I knew it was the right time to go, and it was all the chips in. The attack was at the right time, it was the right move, but it just didn’t quite work out.”
This was a signature move of Gurley, who finished fourth in this event at the European Championships in October, and she raced to plan – “Going into the race myself and David [Muntaner – coach] talked about what our plan was. I executed what the plan was. You have to race with no expectations of a result – and race my best race given my strengths. Maybe if the bunch lulled a bit longer I could have got my lap – but I raced to plan, and that was the right time to go.”
“It was a race that suited me, and it went my way for the attack so I was happy to read the race correctly. I’m satisfied with how I raced, but I’m disappointed with the result. Seven out of ten times that move might work – but it didn’t this time.”
After taking the lead for several laps, Gurley was joined by Japan’s Nao Suzuki, with the duo working together to lap the field. In front of a home crowd, multiple world and European medallist Kirsten Wild (NED) attacked across to the pair, bringing riders with her.
Despite the noise from the crowd when Wild was chasing her, the Trackproject.ie rider remained focused – “I didn’t really notice the sound – you zone it out and don’t hear what the crowd is doing. You focus on being patient and doing your plan. My head was in a good place and at the World Championships there are always distractions.”
Gurley is competing in the Points Race and the Madison this weekend – “I can go into the other races knowing my legs and head are there.”
Next up for the Irish team is Robyn Stewart in the Sprint tomorrow and Marc Potts in the Men’s Scratch Race. The 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships take place in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, from the 28th February – 4th March.
Women’s Scratch Race
GOLD: WILD Kirsten (NED)
SILVER: D'HOORE Jolien (BEL)
BRONZE: DIDERIKSEN Amalie (DEN)
15th: GURLEY Lydia (IRL)