Decent start for Irish team at European Track Champs, Paris

Posted on: October 20th, 2016

Cycling Ireland coach Brian Nugent prepares to launch Felix English into battle at the Europeans in Paris.


The Irish team got its European Track Championships campaign underway in Paris yesterday with some strong riding.

Best of the men and women in green was Felix English; the UK-based criterium specialist taking 5th place in the scratch race and going very close to a medal.

The women’s team pursuit outfit also put in a decent showing when they took 8th in the qualifying and so advanced to the next round.

In the men’s scratch race on the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines Velodrome the contest became a battle from bronze from an Irish perspective when Gael Suter (Switzerland) and Adrian Teklinski (Poland) lapped the field.

That guaranteed then gold and silver and in the sprint for bronze English was right in the mix by ultimately had to settle for 5th place with the final place on the podium going to Dutch rider Wim Stroetinga.

However, Cycling Ireland technical director said he was impressed by English’s ride even though he just missed out on the medals.

“That was a great display from Felix,” Nugent said.

“He was one of the fastest in the final sprint and just missed out on a bronze due to the way the sprint worked out for him.

“He was well placed throughout and very vigilant and active at every point. Felix is maturing as a rider and the big result will come naturally.”

The Irish women’s team pursuit line-up of Lydia Boylan, Eileen Burns, Lydia Gurley and Anna Turvey qualified for the next round in 8th place, with a time of 4.40.347.

In the women’s 500m TT newcomer Robyn Stewart finished 12th in a time of 36.663 seconds and Eimear Moran was 14th in 37.296.

Team pursuiters Gurley was in action again in the women’s elimination race later in the day, when she finished 15th in the bunch race.

Again, Cycling Ireland’s Nugent praised the performances.

“The main goal of these championships for this group is to gain experience, so it’s a bonus for the women to qualify for the next round,” he said of the pursuiters competing for places 5th to 8th.

“They have a lot to learn in the team pursuit, but I’m really happy with how they got on out there today. This group will just get stronger with more time and experience.

“The new  women’s sprinters did great in the 500 TT recording pbs, and Lydia Gurley got stuck in during her individual debut at a major championships in the tactical bunch race.

“It’s just great to see so many new faces getting an opportunity to progress and really committing to it.”

Today, Thursday, as well as the next round of the women’s team pursuit; Stewart and Moran will team up for the women’s team sprint.

Boylan will compete in the women’s scratch race and Fintan Ryan will make his debut in the elite championships competing in the men’s elimination race.