Ireland’s latest track sensation Mark Downey has said he and Madison partner Felix English are ready to take on the best at the UCI World Championships in Hong Kong next month.
The dynamic duo won the country’s first gold medal in the event on Sunday night when they blitzed a star-studded field in Los Angeles in the third and final round of the UCI Track World Cup.
Next up is the biggest event on the calendar from April 12-16 and Banbridge, Co Down man Downey cannot wait to do battle again.
“We have a short break now for just over a week, then we’re all back to Majorca to start our final big push towards Hong Kong. We’ve worked hard to get to where we are now, and it was a tough few years, but we’re ready to tackle these World Championships, and the team are up for it,” he said.
Their gold medal followed a silver in Cali, Colombia a week beforehand where only the Danish beat them.
Meanwhile, rising Irish star Eddie Dunbar has said his fifth place overall at the Volta ao Alentejo in Portugal at the weekend underlines his huge improvement in the last 12 months. The 20-year old Corkman, riding for American-based Continental team Axeon Hagens Berman, was just 29 seconds down on overall winner Carlos Barbero of Movistar as well as second by four seconds in the young rider classification.
“I certainly feel stronger as a rider in terms of tactics and positioning,” he said afterwards. “I learned a lot from last year. I worked hard over the winter and it has paid off.
“It is pretty impressive what we can do as a team when we use our strength at the right times and in a very smart way.”
The Madison race is a fast and tactical track cycling event that involves a two-rider team working together to cover 30 kilometres, or 120 laps of the track.
There are sprints every 10 laps and bonus points for lapping the field. The Irish duo of Downey and Felix English lapped the field at the halfway point on Sunday before waiting for the perfect moment to launch their final attack on the field which secured gold.
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