Ireland’s Mark Downey and Felix English have rounded off the final event in the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Los Angeles with a gold medal win in the Madison.
The Madison is a new event on the Olympic calendar for Tokyo and the Irish team have made clear their intentions with another dominant performance putting them in first place ahead of Denmark and New Zealand, adding gold to the silver they won last week at the World Cup in Cali.
In the Individual Pursuit Anna Turvey finished tenth with a time of 3.43.639 and Eoin Mullen finished 21st in the Keirin.
The Irish duo lapped the field at the halfway point of the 30-kilometre event before waiting for the perfect moment to launch their final attack on the field which secured gold.
Downey enjoyed the race saying: “That was a class race, I enjoyed every minute of that one, for the first time in a Madison we were actually in control. After the 4th sprint we first tried out trade mark move, but it didn’t work and we were caught, but we nailed it again and it worked. We picked up sprint points and on the way we got a lap with some more teams so it helped. The race relaxed after that with teams just going for sprints.”
Tactics came into it and the Downey and English bided their time before launching the winning attack with 20 laps to go.
“With 20 laps to go the Swiss went for it but it was too early,” Downey said. “The New Zealanders who were leaders at the time panicked and brought them back, that was perfect for us, as soon as they brought it back we went, it was all or nothing. We felt good out there, legs to burn. It was such a nice feeling winning with Felix, I’m ecstatic, very happy right now!”
English puts the result down to their training with coach David Muntaner: “David’s training over the past two seasons has brought us from making up numbers to being some of the strongest track riders in the world. We really can’t thank him enough, he’s a great coach and friend. We won the last sprint and continued on to take the lap – we had the gas to keep going, and were just stronger out there than everyone else. It was a crazy race! We’re both ridiculously happy now.”
In the Individual Pursuit Turvey was competing in her first Track World Cup, and the European bronze medallist has learnt from the experience saying “It has been an amazing experience. I know what I need to work on and I’m looking forward to getting back to training so that I can improve.”
The LA round of the Track World Cup was the fourth and final round in the World Cup Series and took place over the 25th and 26th February 2017. Next stop for the Irish team is the World Track Championships in Hong Kong.
Cycling Ireland Technical Director Brian Nugent is very pleased with the progress of the team: “The plan for Felix and Mark was to wait until the later part of the race, and that’s what they did, and they were in control. I was so proud to be trackside coaching them tonight. I have seen so many super Irish performances over the years, and that ranks as one of the best. A first ever win in a team event. Lots of hard work by the riders and the support team, I’m pleased for them all.”
“We have a short break now for just over a week, then we’re all back to Majorca to start our final big push towards Hong Kong. We’ve worked hard to get to where we are now, and it was a tough few years, but we’re ready to tackle these World Championships, and the team are up for it.”
For Downey this means a few days in Ireland before the last push towards the World Championships: “I fly home Tuesday to Ireland, I’ve some easy days planned before back to boot camp! I’m actually excited to get training, 2017 is going to be a big year for Irish cycling, mark my words. I want to thank Felix, David, Brian, my family and all in Cycling Ireland, and the Emerald Fund. Thanks to all my support back home – this one is for you.”
The UCI Track Cycling World Championships take place in Hong Kong on Easter Weekend from the 12th – 16th April.