Mark Downey takes gold medal in Colombia track cycling World Cup
His victory keeps him on track towards his ambition to win the world title in April
Mark Downey of Ireland celebrates after winning the gold medal in the UCI Cycling World Cup, men’s points race final, at Alcides Nieto Patino velodrome. Photograph: Getty Images
Having already won a gold medal in the points race in the Apeldoorn World Cup last November, Mark Downey has repeated the feat by winning the same event in the Colombia World Cup in Cali on Friday.
Downey took first in three sprint points during the 120 lap race and, crucially, also lapped the main field.
“It was my first time racing at altitude so I needed to be careful,” he said. “My pre-race tactic was to chill for 30-40 laps and then to come to the front and turn the gas on. I made three key moves in the race - I got away with five riders and took 5 points in the sprint, then the big guys got away shortly after that and I used the rest of the bunch to bring them back.
“As soon as I got to their back wheel I went, and went hard. It was around 70 laps to go, I picked up two sprints on the way and it took me 23 laps to take the lap - so it was long. The crowd was ecstatic.”
Inside the final 17 laps seven riders got clear including, dangerously, the riders who were second, third and fourth. Downey had to ride flat out to stop them gaining a lap and held on to win the race.
His victory means he is now leading the World Cup ranking for the event. It also keeps him on track towards his ambition to win the world title in April.
He previously took silver in the points race in the European championship as both a junior and as an under 23 rider.
In the women’s omnium Lydia Boylan won the opening event, the scratch race, and finished a fine sixth overall.
Racing continues until Sunday with more Irish in action over the remaining two days.
Men’s points race:
1, Mark Downey (Ireland) 35 points
2, Niklas Larsen (Denmark) 25 points
3, Robbe Ghys (Belgium) 16 points
1, Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) 128 points
2, Emily Nelson (Britain) 118 points
3, Rachele Barbieri (Italy) 114 points