The Cycling Ireland team increased their medal tally at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in the Alcides Nieto Patino Velodrome in Cali, Colombia, when Mark Downey and Felix English won silver in the Madison last night.
The Danish duo of Casper Von Folsach and Niklas Larson won gold, with Andrei Sazanov and Viktor Manakov of Russia finishing third.
It was the third medal won by Ireland in the third round of the World Cup Series, following Downey’s win in the Points race and Lydia Gurley’s bronze in the Scratch race.
Coached by former World Champion in this event, David Muntaner, Downey and English raced smart, and gained two laps on the field in the 120 lap event that has been introduced to the Olympic Programme for Tokyo.
Downey said: “That was definitely a nail biter! Everything was running smoothly and when we made the first move David gave the signal and we settled into the rhythm at 70 laps and got the lap with the Danes – they were strong! Then Felix made a move with 17 laps to go – I was totally spent! But it seems to be everyone else was ten times worse than us so we caught the bunch four laps from the finish, and the Danes caught the bunch with two laps to go! That pushed us down to second – I’m pretty sure the Irish fans enjoyed that one as much as we did!”
“I really enjoyed the moment with Felix. He was super out there tonight – World Class! He deserves this as we’ve worked just as hard as each other, and like I’ve said from the start, it’s only the beginning. Special thanks to David, past world champion in this event, he was our eyes and ears out there, and has been there for us the past year and a half. I hope he enjoys this moment – he’s a great guy.”
English was equally delighted with the result – having come agonisingly close to medals over the past few years:
“Finally! I think I’ve had five fourth places at major competitions at this stage! It was even better to do it with Mark – we are both pretty competitive with each other so we train like absolute mad men! And this is our Olympic event for 2020 too.”
In the Points Race Lydia Gurley was 20th and Eoin Mullen finished 27th in the Sprint. This was the final day of racing at the Track World Cup in Cali, with Downey summing up the weekend well:
“A positive vibe is a positive team – that’s what produces great results. Thanks so much to everyone – Cycling Ireland is on the rise!”
Next up for the Irish Team is the final round of the World Cup Series which takes place in Los Angeles, USA next weekend – competition runs from Saturday 25th February to Sunday 26th February 2017.