Ireland’s Felix English has finished fifth in the Omnium at the 2017 UEC Track Elite European Championships in Berlin today. The European title in the four-race event went to Spain’s Albert Torres Barcelo; Julius Johansen (Denmark) won silver, and reigning world champion from France, Benjamin Thomas, won bronze.
English had a superb day of racing across the four-race event, sitting in fourth place until the final Points Race.
“I’m satisfied with fifth,” said English, “I went into the last race trying to get a medal, but fifth is much better than what I did last year, and I’m a lot more consistent. The guys who were ahead of me were the World Champion, European Champion, World Cup medallist and the Junior Road Race Champion. I’ll be racing against them again at the Worlds, and hopefully will progress again.”
A fourth-place finish in the Scratch Race and in the Elimination Race ensured the 25-year-old started the final Points Race in a strong fourth place, four points off a medal.
“It was a long day, and I was smart about not wasting too much energy, even in the ward up. We had a qualifier in the morning too for the first time – that’s five hard races in a day. I was trying to conserve energy all day and then race the best guys in the world! I felt in proper contention all day – but I’m still making mistakes.”
English was particularly strong in the Elimination Race, where he finished fourth – “I was really happy with it. I was really pleased with my recovery in the race – I went to the front straight away, and it was really hard. I ended up at the back, but my legs came around in the race, I’m really pleased as that’s something I couldn’t do before.”
A phenomenal final Points race from Spaniard Torres Barcelo saw him jump from fifth to first, after gaining two laps, and a crucial forty points.
English picked up several points throughout the 25km race, but missed the winning move, that saw some of the main contenders gain a lap, leaving the gap too wide for English in the latter part of the race. With double points up for grabs in the final sprint, the Irish man finished third securing fifth place.
“This year I fully committed myself to the track, with the Omnium and the Madison in the Olympics in a few years’ time, I really want to focus on it. In the omnium, especially, you need to be racing all season to qualify. I went to Majorca in early August to train with my coach David (Muntaner). I’m convinced we train harder than anyone else, and we are getting stronger and stronger every year. It’s going in the right direction.”