Cycling Ireland will send eleven riders to the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Pruszków, Poland, taking place from February 27 to March 3.
With 17 months remaining until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the team has been building up for these crucial World Championships on the UCI Track World Cup circuit since last October, competing at all six rounds. The focus has been on the Olympic track cycling disciplines, particularly the Madison, which returns to the Olympic schedule in 2020 for the first time since 2008.
The pairing of Felix English and Mark Downey performed well at last year’s World Championship taking ninth. Having previously won a Track World Cup Gold in Madison, they team up again in 2019.
Three-time Irish National Road Race Champion Lydia Boylan and Rio 2016 Olympian Shannon McCurley make up the duo for the Women’s Madison. McCurley will also compete in the Women’s Omnium, and Boylan the Women’s Points Race, which produced Ireland’s only female Track World Championship medal in 2012, courtesy of Caroline Ryan’s Bronze.
Ireland’s last Track World Championship medal was Gold in the Men’s Scratch, which Felix English tackles in Pruszków, his Madison partner Downey also riding in the Men’s Points Race.
In Women’s Scratch, Lydia Gurley bids to better last year’s 15th, while Robyn Stewart will ride her second Track World Championships in the Women’s Sprint, and the Women’s Team Pursuit foursome of Orla Walsh, Kelly Murphy, Mia Griffin and Alice Sharpe will make their World Championships debut, having in December become the first Irish Team Pursuit line-up to qualify for the last eight of a Track World Cup competition. They get Ireland’s Track World Championships underway in Poland on Wednesday, February 27.
The Track World Cup and World Championships form the two key elements of qualification for Tokyo 2020, with riders best three Track World Cup results counting towards Olympic qualification. The end of the World Championships will mark half-time in Tokyo 2020 qualification.
The Irish Cycling Team for the 2019 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Pruszków:
Lydia Boylan (31, Dublin)
Mark Downey (22, Dromore, County Down)
Felix English (26, Dublin)
Lydia Gurley (34, Athenry, County Galway)
Shannon McCurley (26, Dublin)
Marc Potts (27, Beragh, County Tyrone) – Madison Reserve
Robyn Stewart (28, Belfast)
Orla Walsh (29, Dublin)
Mia Griffin (20, Kilkenny)
Kelly Murphy (29, Cork)
Alice Sharpe (24, Belfast)