Sensational gold for Downey after scintillating points race

Posted on: February 18th, 2017

Mark Downey salutes the crowd after winning gold in the points race at the UCI Track World Cup in Cali, Combia overnight. The win is Downey’s second after he also won gold in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands in November.

 

By Brian Canty

The Irish team have exploded out of the traps at the UCI Track World Cup in Cali, Colmbia overnight with Mark Downey taking a gold medal in the 30k points race and Lydia Boylan also riding out of her skin to ensure qualification for the world championships.

Downey’s gold medal win is another historic night for Irish cycling and it follows his most previous one in Apeldoorn last November where he also won gold.

Last night, the young Banbridge man entered the race as somebody to watch and unlike Apeldoorn where he was somewhat under the radar the same cannot be said for last night.

He rode a perfect race and watched all the key moves going off the front, placing himself where he needed to be throughout the 30k contest.

Indeed, in a stacked field with many of the world’s best track men Downey needed to keep his powder dry for when it was most required and when he felt the moment was right to make his moves he spared no effort.

Over the course of the race the riders battled for points at the 12 intermediate sprints and though Downey was slow starting with no points picked up in the first three sprints he came alive on sprint four and took maximum points there.

And by the end of the fourth sprint he was up to third overall, though still a long way to go and the pace only increasing at that point.

He failed so score on sprints five and six but on seven he won, bringing his tally up to 10 and into the bronze medal position.

He won the next one (8) and at the three-quarter stage of the contest he was up to first on 35 points, well clear of Larsen in second overall.

Larsen had tallied 18 points with 10 sprints gone but Downey was on 35, meaning he was almost untouchable.

And he coasted home thereafter for another massive win and night in his career.

He crossed the line ahead of Danish rider Larsen (25) while bronze went to Belgian Robbie Ghys (16).

Meanwhile it was a great night too for Lydia Boylan who finished sixth in the omnium which guaranteed her place at the UCI World Championships later in the season in Hong Kong.

Boylan won her scratch race and after a solid showing in the tempo race she was in the silver medal position after two of the four events.

Alas, in the elimination race and the points race she slipped to fourth and later sixth but she can still be massively proud of her achievement which marks something of a breakthrough in her career.

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