Olympic Cycling: Downey lands 17th place in punishing Omnium

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Team Ireland had one major competitor, Mark Downey,  in the Izu Velodrome this morning for the men’s Omnium races

The Down native was taking part in one of the most gruelling, unforgiving cycling competitions at the Olympics this morning, the Omnium.

The event consists of four 10km/40 lap races in the spaces of a few hours. These races are the scratch race, the tempo race, the elimination race and the points race. For anyone a little confused, they will be explained as they come up for Downey.

This was the 25-year-olds first appearance at an Olympic Games but he had shown his quality in recent years to give him a chance of finishing in the top half of competitors.

Cycling Track – Men’s Omnium

Scratch Race

First up for Downey was the Scratch race which is straightforward, first across the finishing line gets the most points.

The Irishman started well jostling inside the main pack of riders. This worked well to conserve his energy until the last lap where he got stuck behind competitors, unable to manoeuvre for a sprint.

He finished this race in 16th, recieving 10 points. In first place was Great Britain’s Matthew Walls who got 40 points.

Tempo Race

Next up was the tempo race which is all about sprinting. Cyclists will get a point if they are the first person to cross the line after every lap, they will also get 20 points for lapping the field. Those that are lapped will be deducted 20 points.

This was not a good race for Downey, he could not find more energy, just 30 minutes after the Scratch. He failed to win any sprint and was lapped once.

He ended the round in 19th with -20 points, Dutchman JW van Schip finished highest with 30 points.

 

Elimination Race

The third race was the elimination race which is basically a last man standing, every two laps, last place is forced to drop out of the race.

After a slight delay due to a small bike on coach collision on the track, the race got under way.

Downey managed well to avoid last place for the first four laps but could not make a push on in the outside lane to sit in the middle of the pack. He was the second rider eliminated after he was caught off guard by a quick double overtake.

Italy’s Elia Viviani was the last man standing in this event and the points pushed him into sixth place overall.

 

Points Race

Last up is the points race which is the most complicated. Every 10 laps there is a sprint worth five, three, two and one points mid-race with these totals being doubled in the final lap.

Like the tempo race, 20 points are awarded if a rider laps the field and 20 deducted for the rider lapped.
Although Downey did not manage to gain any more points, he was not lapped and jumped into 17th place overall.
The event was officially won by Team GB’s Matthew Walls in the final few laps with 153 points.

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