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OTHER CYCLING : Track Racing Last Updated: 13 Dec 2018 - 11:13:25 AM

Irish Men’s Madison Back in Top 10 at Track World Cup III
By Heather Boyle, CI Communications Officer
3 Dec 2018,

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GOLD Medal-winning Madison pairing Mark Downey and Felix English returned Ireland to the top 10 at the UCI Track World Cup in Berlin this weekend, Downey getting his first taste of the new Olympic discipline’s increased intensity.

JB Murphy in the Omnium at the Tissot Track Cycling World Cup 2018, Round 3, Berlin, Germany 2nd December 2018 - Picture (C) Guy Swarbrick

Northern Ireland’s Mark Downey was riding his first Track World Cup of the season in the third round at Velodrome Berlin in Germany, teaming up with Felix English, who helped him to Gold at the Track World Cup in LA last year.

Shortly afterwards, the Men’s Madison was put back on the Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020, having been cut before London 2012. It means the event’s quality has ramped up, and nowhere more than at the Track World Cups - crucial for Tokyo 2020 qualification.

Mark Downey said: “That was a taste of what it’s going to be like for the next few years in Madison. We’re using completely different gears, because the race is now three to four kilometres per hour faster.

“I hadn’t been on the track since the Europeans, taking a break for a couple of weeks after the road season, but I felt pretty okay. I maybe did lack a bit of race fitness, but I thought a top seven or eight finish would be a positive start, and we’ve taken ninth.”

He added: “We tried to come into the race late on, and maybe should have tried to score earlier, but I’m happy and Felix is happy. We’ve stepped up again, adapted to the race, and I feel after that performance we can step up again at London in two weeks time. I’m motivated, Felix is motivated, we are going to build on this.”

Brian Nugent, Cycling Ireland Technical Director, said: “The Men’s Madison back in the top 10 again was the result of the weekend. That was the race we really needed to improve on from the last Track World Cup, and we’ve done that. Now we need to go up another level by London.”

In the Women’s Madison, Lydia Gurley found a new partner in Shannon McCurley, riding her first World Cup Madison, and for the first time with Gurley. They finished 13th to Great Britain, and are set to ride together again in London.

U23 JB Murphy also put himself under consideration for that team, after showing promise in his first senior Track World Cup Omnium, finishing third in the Tempo Race.

Nugent said: “JB Murphy won a Silver medal the Junior World Championships last year. He really has a lot of potential, and we’re trying to bring him along by giving him opportunities like this. This is his first year racing with seniors and he’ll be one to watch.”

The Women’s Team Pursuit foursome of Mia Griffin, Kelly Murphy, Alice Sharpe, and Orla Walsh opened Ireland’s weekend by riding 4m33.296s in qualifying on Friday. The time was 1.6s off the Irish national record, and 24s quicker than their ride at the European Championships in Glasgow.

The next round of the Tissot UCI Track World Cup is in London from December 14 - 16. That will be round four of six in the series, with the last round coming in Hong Kong in January. Riders’ best three rounds go towards their Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification bids.


Remaining Tissot UCI Track World Cup Schedule:
Round IV London, UK - Dec 14-16
Round V Cambridge, NZ - Jan 18-20
Round VI Hong Kong - Jan 25-27

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