Irish silver for downey

Mark Downey's rise through Irish cycling continues.
Mark Downey's rise through Irish cycling continues.

Local riders are taking Irish cycling by storm.

That was underlined yet again last weekend when Mark Downey took a silver medal in the U23 section at the Irish Road Race Championships.

He was followed home by Matthew Teggart, battling back from a crash to finish 15th, and James Curry.

As if all that wasn’t enough excitement, James is preparing to jet off to the Czech Republic where he, alongside fellow Banbridge CC man Gareth McKee, will race in the MTB World Championships.

Sunday’s Irish Road Race Championships in Kilcullen saw Dromore star Downey competing hot on the heels of Irish cycling legend Nicolas Roche of Team Sky, coming in just four minutes two seconds behind the winner.

That saw him finish in sixth place overall and behind only Michael O’Loughlin in the U23 stakes.

“What a day,” he said on Facebook. “I was in the break from the drop of the flag today at the Irish National Championships. In a quality break of pros, not my finest of legs on the day but the cream rose to the top and I couldn’t have lost to two more worthy champions.”

Mark took off in an original break of three riders alongside Roche and could well get used to seeing his name alongside the stars. Already this season he has placed 13th at the An Post Rás and just last week won his first ever stafe in a major French race at the Tour Nivernais Morvan.

Matthew Teggart, another former Banbridge CC man, was involved in a crash early in the race but the AC Bisontine cyclist fought back superbly.