Stickybottle

Downey (20) blasts into big time with gold at UCI World Cup

Posted on: November 12th, 2016

On the podium this evening and looking delighted! Mark Downey takes his place among an exclusive club of Irish greats.

 

Having taken medals at junior and U23 level at the European Track Championships, young Irish rider Mark Downey has just broken into the big time.

The 20-year-old from Banbridge has won the points race at the elite UCI World Cup in Holland this evening.

In the end he won it well on a total of 18 points, with silver medal winner Morgan Kneisky of France and bronze medal man Sultanmurat Mitaliyev from Kazakhstan, both on 14 points.

Downey, who has progressed in style on road and track in the last couple of seasons, now takes his place among the top Irish track riders of all time.

He joins former world champion Martyn Irvine as a gold medal winner at World Cup level.

And Caroline Ryan – herself a bronze medalist at the Worlds – remains the only Irish woman ever to win a medal at a World Cup, also taking bronze there.

It means Downey, despite his youth, is now in a very exclusively club of Irish greats with his whole career still stretched out way ahead of him.

 

Two good lads: Downey with coach David Muntaner, from Spain and a world champion in the Madison just two years ago.

 

He is no stranger to the international podium, of course, having won a silver medal earlier this year in the points race in the U23 Europeans and taken silver at the junior track Europeans two years ago.

But there are many riders who excel at those age group levels never to quite make the step into the big time against the elites.

And now Downey has this evening in Apeldoorn taken that monumental step; not only in competing well in the international elite field but by imposing himself to win and perform when the pressure was really on.

Downey’s victory was cemented following a formidable win in the final sprint of 12, earning him double points in a race where he was active throughout.

The points race is a bunch event raced over 120 laps of the velodrome, with sprints every ten laps. The rider with the most points at the finish is deemed the winner.

Downey, son of Olympian Seamus Downey and brother of former An Post-Chainreaction rider Sean Downey, started conservatively before making two key breaks, most significantly picking up points in the sprints before being reabsorbed into the bunch.

He tried to gain a lap around the midway point, but gained half a lap and no further. But rather than panic and perhaps invest too much into a move that was coming up short he took control.

He simply took his sprint points out front and allowed himself a breather while he was being caught, a tactic that played well when he blasted in to win the final sprint and take World Cup gold in an amazing night for Irish cycling.

More to follow.

 

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