A six-rider line-up has been confirmed for next week's UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, with three men and three women competing in the events.
Lydia Boylan and Lydia Gurley will ride the women's Madison on Saturday week, an event they took silver in during the European championship last October, with both in action individually earlier in the week.
Gurley will be the first Irish competitor to line out, riding the women’s scratch race next Wednesday. She is a World Cup bronze medallist in that discipline, as well as a fourth-place finisher in the European Track Championships.
The following day Belfast rider Robyn Stewart will compete in the sprint, riding the event after she became the first Irish woman to qualify for that discipline in the world championships.
Marc Potts will ride the men's scratch race on Thursday, and will be psyched in his worlds debut due to top-five performances in World Cup events this season. Boylan will then compete in the women's omnium on Friday week, while Mark Downey will contest the men's points race.
He has landed international success in the event, taking gold medals in Los Angeles and Cali in the 2016/2017 season, and has worked hard to be in top form for the worlds. Ditto for Felix English, who will contest the men’s omnium on Saturday, March 3rd, the same day Boylan and Gurley will compete in the Madison.
Gurley will be back in action on Sunday week, competing in the women’s points race, while Downey and English will combine in the men’s Madison. They took gold and silver track World Cup medals in that discipline in the past, and have the ability to shine again.
“We have qualified a really strong team of riders and I’m really looking forward to getting started,” said Cycling Ireland technical director Brian Nugent. “This is one of the strongest teams we have had at the worlds.”
Meanwhile, Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin are building up for next month's Paris-Nice race. Both were in action recently, with Roche taking a solid ninth overall on the Green Mountain stage in last week's Tour of Oman.
His first cousin Martin was fourth on a stage and 14th overall in the Volta ao Algarve, his first race of the season, and will seek to build form between now and the start of Paris-Nice on March 4th.