Credit: Cycling Ireland
English and Downey finish 11th. in European Championships
The Men’s Madison of Felix English and Mark Downey have finished 11th in the European Championships in Glasgow. This is the first event in the Olympic qualification process, and was won by a dominant Belgium pairing. World Champions Germany won silver and Great Britain moved in to the bronze medal position with the final sprint.
Earlier this morning Orla Walsh finished 15th in the 500m Time Trial with a personal best time of 36.478, which was just outside the Irish national record of 36.290 set by Robyn Stewart.
At the halfway mark in the Women’s Omnium Lydia Boylan is lying in fifth place, after finishing 2nd in the Tempo Race and 9th in the Scratch Race – the overall winner after four events will be the person with the most points. Competition continues this evening.
Speaking after the Madison Final Felix English was disappointed with their result, but drew positives from the race – “It’s disappointing, we had a really tough morning with the qualification, we had to go a lot harder than we thought we would. But I thought that if I rode a controlled race this afternoon that it would have been okay.
“The things that we have improved on tactically have now shown up our other flaws. Like we are able to follow on the right laps and schedule in for the right time for the sprints which we could never do before. But now that we are on those laps, we are going too hard in the sprint and from too far back so positioning in the bunch is now our main focus.
The combination of Downey’s endurance and the turn of pace of English plays a factor in their race plan – “at the start of the race the plan is for me to go for the sprints, but then you have to be really fast for the lead in too. Most of the guys are paired up with two really quick guys, and the race is so fast now you can’t rely on strength it’s just all speed.”
This event is part of the qualification process for the Tokyo Olympics, and English is not really fazed by the finish position yet – “For qualification we need to be top eight in the rankings, and nations from other events will come out of that, but at the same time you don’t want to be relying on that – you want to get results.”
Lydia Boylan finished the second event in the Omnium – the Tempo Race in second place, attacking with ten laps to go. The Tempo Race is a fast-paced event with points awarded for the first over the line on each lap, which meant the Dublin rider picked up ten vital points to place her second.
Pleased with her Tempo Boylan said “I can’t really match the other girls for brute power – but that’s what’s cool about the omnium, there are a lot of different tactics you can roll. I love the Tempo because it is just so hard and fast all the time, and it’s literally who has the best legs at the end, the one who is willing to put it on the line.
“My plan with David (coach) was just to attack it at some point, and it worked. I was so close to getting the lap, but I picked up enough points along the way to get a really good position.”
In the Omnium the overall winner is the highest placed rider at the end of four events, with points being awarded for the finish position in each event. Earlier this morning she finished 9th in the Scratch Race. Boylan competes in the Elimination Race and the Points Race later on this evening.
Also in action was Orla Walsh, competing in the 500m TT, achieving a PB in this event. The Time Trial is often described as one of the toughest events on the programme – “it’s just pedal until you’re blacking out! That’s how it feels – just keep going until the line.
Walsh is relatively new to cycling and is a member of the Talent ID squad, “I only joined a cycling club in 2016, and last year as part of the talent transfer programme I was selected to train with the girls over in Majorca so we have been doing that for the past year. This is our second competition ever, so this is all brand new, and we are getting to know it and learn how to race.
“I was just riding my bike to work in 2015 and really enjoyed it – the fact that I’m here racing against the best in the world is just crazy. It’s really inspirational and giving me motivation to train harder, keep going and get better.”
Later this evening Boylan competes in the Elimination Race at 19.01 and the Points Race at 20.06.
History is made this week when Glasgow and Berlin host the inaugural European Championships, an exciting multi-sport event bringing together some of the continent’s leading sports, including the existing UEC cycling championships.
Men’s Madison Final
Gold Belgium 60
Silver Germany 49
Bronze Great Britain 38
11th Ireland -2
Women’s 500TT Qualifiers
15th Orla Walsh 36.478
Women’s Omnium (2 of 4 races complete)
9th Lydia Boylan (IRL)
2nd Lydia Boylan (IRL)
Overall at halfway
5th Lydia Boylan (IRL)