Cycling Ireland’s Mark Downey displayed outstanding dominance to win gold in the Men’s Points Race in the third round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in the Alcides Nieto Patino Velodrome in Cali, Colombia in the early hours of this morning. The Dromore man is now leading the World Cup ranking in this event, adding this medal to the gold won in Apeldoorn last November. Lydia Boylan was also in action in the Women’s Omnium, finishing sixth overall after a blistering start which saw her win the first event, the Scratch Race. The Tissot UCI Track World Cup in Cali runs from Friday 17th February to Sunday 19th February 2017.
Twenty year old Downey is no stranger to the podium in this event, having won silver in the European Championships in the Points Race as both a Junior and U23 rider. Since joining the elite team he has stormed to the lead in the World Cup rankings having won back to back World Cup gold medals. The affable and talented rider demonstrated his physical and mental strength by taking three sprint points in the 120 lap race, and lapping the field:
“It was my first time racing at altitude so I needed to be careful; my pre-race tactic was to chill for 30-40 laps and then to come to the front and turn the gas on. I made three key moves in the race – I got away with five riders and took 5 points in the sprint, then the big guys got away shortly after that and I used the rest of the bunch to bring them back. As soon as I got to their back wheel I went, and went hard. It was around 70 laps to go, I picked up two sprints on the way and it took me 23 laps to take the lap – so it was long! The crowd was ecstatic.”
After this effort there was no let up for Downey, with attacks coming from the bunch:
“After that I sat back and got my breath back and waited for the final 25 laps of hell. In the last 17 laps a big group of 7 got away, with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed riders in it – so I literally did an IP [Individual Pursuit] against seven riders – it was an unbelievable way to hurt everyone and then just have the legs.”
Downey has every reason to be ambitious, and has his sights set on the World Title in April: “This one means a lot more to me than Apeldoorn in the fashion that I won it, but yeah – I have a goal, and the plan up to it is going smoothly. All I’m saying is on to the next one!”
Dublin born Boylan also flew the flag proudly for Ireland, competing in the newly structured Women’s Omnium, which consists of four events raced in one day. At the halfway mark Boylan was lying 2nd, ahead of top riders like Sarah Hammer, Olympic Silver Medallist. An upbeat Boylan was happy with her progress, with her current 6th position in the World Cup rankings being enough to qualify her for the World Championships in this event:
“Today was all about getting experience in the Omnium, and guaranteeing World’s qualification. David [Muntaner – coach] and I worked well together to figure out the best tactics. It worked really well for the first two events; I wasn’t expecting to win the Scratch Race! A well timed attack saw me take a lap on the field. This definitely gives me a lot of confidence moving forward. The Elimination Race is definitely still a big weakness but David and I will definitely work hard to improve this before the Worlds.”