Mark Downey has won the gold medal in the Men’s Points Race at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Apeldoorn today, finishing ahead of Morgan Kneisky from France and Sultanmurat Miraliyev from Kazakhstan.
The Banbridge man is no stranger to the podium in this event having won silver in the European U23 Championships earlier this year.
Downey’s victory was cemented following a formidable win in the final sprint of 12, earning him double points in a race where the 20 year old was active throughout.
In the Women’s Keirin Shannon McCurley also raced superbly finishing ninth overall, having just missed out on qualification for the A Final; Eoin Mullen was 24thin the Men’s Sprint with a time of 10.325.
Downey started conservatively in the race which consisted of 120 laps with sprints every ten laps, before making two key breaks, most significantly picking up points in the sprints before being returning to the bunch.
Delighted with his win the talented rider described the race; “I really wanted this. I was going so hard, I didn’t really know how hard I was going! I have just spent five weeks with David [Muntaner – coach] working very hard. I took a short break before this trying to decide where I wanted to go – and I really want to win the World Championships this year. You reap the rewards when you really want something.”
Downey raced a clever and intelligent race; “I tried to get a lap in the middle and got half a lap, but I knew it wasn’t the right time so I took the sprint. Coming to the last sprint I was sitting out of contention and waited until everyone else’s face was worse than mine.”
“I was sussing out who I needed to get away from –and the Polish guy was the main one, he was at the front so I just went for it. David was shouting to keep going so I just kept building, and was pulling more faces than I felt.”
The young rider won a silver medal in this event at the Junior European Championships in 2014 and followed that up with a silver in the U23 European Championships earlier this year; “I can’t believe it. To be 20 years old and winning a world cup is out of this world! I have two silver medals in this and am working towards the Worlds, I’m off to a flying start.”
“I keep looking at the medal and wonder if it is made of chocolate! This is just reflecting the work that David and everyone else is putting in. When you see others putting in the time and so much work, it really drives you on.”
Speaking about McCurley’s ninth place Cycling Ireland Track Coach David Muntaner said “Shannon is going really well. She has made a lot of improvements since the Olympics and just missed out on the A Final. Between this result and her seventh at the World Cup in Glasgow last week she has really shown she can make the A Final soon.”
Tomorrow Downey is in action again, in the Madison with Felix English, who finished fourth in the Scratch Race yesterday. Also in action is Lydia Gurley in the Women’s Points Race.