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Irish Women 10th in Inaugural Madison at the Track Worlds in Hong Kong

The Women’s Madison pairing of Lydia Gurley and Lydia Boylan finished 10th at the 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships on Saturday, with this being the inaugural year for the event on the race programme. In the Women’s 3km Individual Pursuit Anna Turvey was 17th with a time of 3.40.484. This is the penultimate day of the five-day championships which is taking place in Hong Kong Velodrome from 12th – 16th April 2017.

In the Madison two-person teams share the effort over the 30km race, with one rider always racing and another recovering at the top of the track. The hand over involves a hand sling with the racing rider propelling the recovering one forward.

Speaking after the race Boylan was disappointed with their performance – “I’m disappointed we could not show our best today; we are much better than that in training, our technique in Palma [Cycling Ireland training base] was so much better than today, and I feel like we let our coach David [Muntaner] down.”

The first team to hit the decks was the Irish one, with the duo coming down with the hand sling. Later in the race Gurley suffered another crash leaving Boylan with extra laps to race before her teammate returned – “Luckily we just suffered burns and broken kit; we’ll survive to fight another day. After the crashes, we were definitely shook up and our technique went out the window, especially when I was so in the red after the second crash. There were moments I didn’t even think I’d finish, but I’m glad we persevered.”

With the Madison being on the race programme for the first time at the World Championships this year most nations are relatively new to the event, as it has only featured in two World Cups this year. Four teams recorded a DNF and crashes animated the 120-lap race.

“I think our inexperience and the inexperience of the field was shown today. You can’t replicate Madison racing in training, but it’s a fantastic event. I think physically I’m really suited to it so I’m looking forward to improving and being at the front in future. We’re not done with the Madison, that’s for sure!”

In the Individual Pursuit Turvey was also disappointed with her performance. The UK based rider won bronze in this event at the Europeans, and has been producing times in training that would have had her fighting for medals.

Speaking after her race the former triathlete said “That was not what I was hoping for – I had been riding 3.32s in training, so I need to have a look at what it is that is impeding me. I know it’s there, I just need to figure out how to get it out on race day, and see why I didn’t deliver the performance I am capable of.”

Gurley is in action again today, competing in the Points Race on the final day of competition at the World Championships. Also racing is Shannon McCurley in the Keirin and Mark Downey and Felix English in the Madison. Downey and English won gold and silver in this event in the last two World Cups, so will be aiming for a good performance.

The competition takes place in Hong Kong, with the seven-hour time difference ensuring the finals will be occurring no later than 3.30pm Irish time.
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