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OTHER CYCLING : Track Racing Last Updated: 2 Apr 2018 - 8:45:17 PM

2 Silver and 1 Bronze at UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships
By Heather Boyle, Cycling Ireland Communications Officer
21 Jul 2017,

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Bronze for Ireland at the UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships in Portugal

19th July 2017 Mark Downey has won a bronze medal in the Points Race at the UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships in Anadia, Portugal tonight. This brings to three the number of medals won by Ireland in these championships so far. The Men’s U23 Points Race was won by Niklas Larsen (Den), silver went to Ethan Hayter (GB) and Downey took bronze.

Dromore’s Downey was one of the pre-race favourites to podium following a phenomenal season last year, where he was dominant in the Points Race, winning two gold medals in the Track World Cups.

“I’m really happy to take bronze tonight. It was a hard race, but I knew it was going to be. The three of us in the medals were the strongest in the race – the Danish guy (Niklas Larsen) was phenomenal, he is the reigning Elite European Champion, and has an Olympic Bronze from Rio.”

21-year-old Downey was silver medallist in this event in 2016, adding to the silver he won in the junior category in 2014, so is no stranger to the podium. However, he has spent the past three months competing on the road.

“I know there was a wee bit of pressure on me after the great season I had last year. I did a lot of road work coming into this, so wasn’t too fast in the sprint – when I’m coming off the road it is always something I lack.”

Along with Larsen, Downey took a lap early in the race, and followed it with two more, with Hayter also taking laps. The Irishman sat in silver medal position until the very last sprint, before being pipped to bronze.
Downey described how the race unfolded: “Myself and the Danish guy got off from the start, and really committed to it. We took the lap with no real problem, so we just kept going and got three in the end. Hayter (GB) is very quick in the sprint, so with the strength of Larsen on each sprint lap, it was like a lead out for him.

This brings the medal haul to three, following the silver medals won by Xeno Young in the Men’s Junior Individual Pursuit and JB Murphy in the Men’s Junior Elimination Race.

Downey attributes the success of the team to the good atmosphere in the camp, saying: “There’s a really good atmosphere in the camp this year, everyone is playing their part in that, and a good atmosphere brings the performances out.”

Today Young finished just outside the medals in the Men’s Junior Omnium, in fourth place, with a strong performance in the final points race bringing him from ninth to fourth. Mullingar’s Nicole Gorry was also impressive in the Women’s Junior Omnium’s Points Race, lapping the field resulting in a final position of 9th place. Earlier in the day Orla Harrison finished 14th in the Women’s Junior 500m with a time of 40.201.

Racing continues tomorrow with Downey competing in the Men’s U23 Omnium. Autumn Collins races in the Women’s U23 Keirin, while in the junior category Orla Harrison and Luke Smith will take on the Points Races.

The UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships take place in the Sangalhos Velodrome in Anadia, Portugal from the 18 – 23 July 2017.


Second Silver for Ireland at the UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships in Portugal

20th July 2017 Xeno Young has won Ireland’s second silver medal at the UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships in Portugal tonight, finishing behind Ivan Smirnov (Russia) in the gold medal final of the Men’s Junior Individual Pursuit.

Young’s 3.19.063 was the second fastest time in the Individual Pursuit qualifying rounds earlier today, guaranteeing the County Down man a European medal, and a chance to ride for gold. 2016 silver medallist, Smirvov, qualified for the ride off with 3.16.462, favourite for the title.

Speaking after the race, a relieved Young said: “I gave it everything. I knew going into it that if I raced my usual pace he would be faster, so I just went for it. I figured that if I blew up, I blew up, and it would be worth giving it a go.”

After leading for the first half of the race, the fast pace took its toll on Young, with the Russian moving into the gold medal position: “The last few laps were brutal! In that race, I did my slowest and fastest lap! I think my first kilometre was nearly a kilo record, but I’m really pleased with my medal, it feels good.”

Standing on the podium was particularly special for the seventeen-year-old, having finished fourth in this event last year: “Last year I didn’t know what to expect before the race, so it was completely different this year. I knew I was fast, so it was a lot easier this year – but I still felt like I had a lot of pressure, having come so close.”

“I’m really happy with how I went in the qualifiers, I paced it well, and now the medal is definitely a motivator for the rest of the races this week. I feel a lot more confident!”

Luke Smith finished 14th in the same race with a time of 3.27.255.

Limerick woman Autumn Collins was also in action today, in the U23 Women’s Sprint. Collins 200m time of 12.323 was enough to qualify her for the match sprints, where she was pitted against German powerhouse Pauline Grabosch, who progressed to the next round. The final standings in the Women’s U23 Sprint will see Collins in 16th place.

Tomorrow will be another big day for the Irish team, with Xeno Young back in action in the Men’s Junior Omnium, and Mark Downey competing in the Men’s U23 Points Race, an event in which he won silver last year. Nicole Gorry will also be racing, competing in the Women’s Junior Omnium, a competition consisting of four separate bunch races.

The UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships take place in the Sangalhos Velodrome in Anadia, Portugal from the 18 – 23 July 2017.

July 19th
Silver for Murphy at UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships

19th July 2017 Ireland’s JB Murphy has won silver in the Men’s Junior Elimination Race in the UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships in Portugal tonight. The Kildare man moved to the front of the bunch in the first lap of the knock out race, where he sat for the remainder of the race. Murphy finished in second place to Italian man Michele Gazzoli and Spain’s Unai Iribar took bronze.

Speaking after the race the 17-year-old described a fast race, which he dominated from the start: “When I pulled my number out of the hat I was towards the back of the bunch, so my coach David [Muntaner] said to sprint to the front, and I was there before the first bell, and sat there for the race.”

The Elimination Race is a ruthless race, with the last rider passing the line on each lap getting eliminated, and the medals being awarded to the last three riders on the track.

“I sat at the front and rode as fast as I could – and next thing all the big nations went out. I am not even sure what happened in the race, because I sat at the front the whole time. When I looked back there were six riders left, then four and then three - myself, the Italian and the Great Britain rider. Myself and the Italian went shoulder to shoulder and GB was eliminated.”

The GB rider, William Tidball was subsequently disqualified for dangerous riding in the race, with the bronze medal being awarded to Spain’s Unai Iribar.

This was the first bunch race on an indoor velodrome for Murphy, who already represented Ireland earlier this year in the World Cyclo-cross Championships.

“My first time on an indoor track was four weeks ago, and this was my first bunch race ever in an Velodrome! I spent a lot of time in the winter riding cyclo-cross and it definitely paid off in the road season. Before coming here my legs didn’t feel great in training, but today I felt good; I had good race legs today.”

Also in action today was Fintan Ryan in the Men’s U23 Scratch Race, where he finished in 8th place. Having finished 6th yesterday in the U23 Elimination Race, Ryan was disappointed with today’s results saying:

“Today was quite poor for me, I didn’t feel good and didn’t race well.”

The Wicklow man has been in flying form this summer, competing across Europe with his team and is hopeful of a good result on Sunday when he competes with Mark Downey in the U23 Madison:

“I’ve competed against most of the guys here this summer, and it is handy to know their style and ability. These Championships have been a big goal for me – I’m hoping for a medal yet.”

Racing continues tomorrow with Autumn Collins in the Women’s U23 Sprint, and Xeno Young and Luke Smith in the Men’s Junior Individual Pursuit; an event in which Young finished fourth last summer.

The UEC Junior and U23 Track European Championships take place in the Sangalhos Velodrome in Anadia, Portugal from the 18 – 23 July 2017.


(Each evening the schedule for the following day will be announced with results):

Men’s Junior Team Pursuit
Shane Higgins, JB Murphy, Luke Smith, Xeno Young 10 4.20

Men’s U23 Elimination Race Fintan Ryan 6
Women’s Jun Scratch Race Nicole Gorry 10
Men’s Jun Scratch Race Shane Higgins 14

Men’s U23 Scratch Race Fintan Ryan 8
Men’s Jun Elimination JB Murphy 2 SILVER

Women’s U23 Sprint Autumn Collins 16
Men’s Jun Individual Pursuit, Luke Smith, Xeno Young 14 3.27.255 / 2 Silver 3.19.063 q

Women’s Jun Omnium Nicole Gorry 9
Men’s Jun Omnium Xeno Young 4
Women’s Jun 500m Orla Harrison 14 40.201
Men’s U23 Points Mark Downey 3 Bronze

Men’s U23 Omnium Mark Downey
Women’s U23 500m Autumn Collins
Women’s Jun Points Orla Harrison
Men’s Jun Points Luke Smith

Women’s U23 Keirin Autumn Collins
Men’s Jun Madison Xeno Young, Luke Smith
Men’s U23 Madison Mark Downey, Fintan Ryan


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