Ireland’s Lydia Boylan and Lydia Gurley have won a silver medal on the final day of the 2017 UEC Track Elite European Championships in Berlin.
The powerful pair stormed into the medals after lapping the field twice. Gold went to Great Britain’s Elinor Barker and Eleanor Dickinson, with the bronze medal going to Dutch multiple World and European Champion Kirsten Wild with her partner Amy Pieters.
In the Men’s Madison Mark Downey and Felix English finished in seventh place after an aggressive performance. Robyn Stewart finished 18th in the Sprint with a time of 11.460.
"It hasn’t quite sunk in," said Boylan after the race. "It’s my fourth elite Europeans. I train really hard every year, and finally it all came together. We have the legs, we have the power, and we are gaining in experience all the time. To get a medal is unbelievable really."
Gurley highlighted the strength of the Irish pairing: "I’m really proud of what we achieved today. It was an awesome team effort. We work really well together.
"I’m still in disbelief. It means so much to us, and that it’s a team medal as well, it means so much more than an individual medal.
"We always work really hard, and it’s worth it - we push each other in training to get better. You give 100% because you know the other one is giving 100% too."
The Madison has recently been added to the Olympic programme, and this year was the first year for it to be included in the women’s track programme.
The Irish team are coached by former Madison World Champion David Muntaner, and have been honing their skills and technique in their track base in Majorca.
Boylan and Gurley eased themselves into the 30km race, remaining calm and composed in the early stages.
"It took us a while to settle into it," said Dubliner Boylan, "We haven’t raced since the worlds, so we didn’t have any expectations. We didn’t panic, and after 20 laps got to the front of the group – we were watching moves, and watching David. Then we got into the group that got a lap, and then we took another one. We were up there and racing – we were in the race, not just chasing like we were doing at the Worlds last year."
Galway’s Gurley echoed her teammate saying "It took a little while to settle into it – but we stayed calm, and knew it would take a bit to settle – we haven’t raced in six months. When we got to the front of the group we were more comfortable there. We positioned ourselves well, and we were strong enough and smart enough to do that."
The next competition for the Irish team is at the World Cup in Poland on the 4-5 November, with the second World Cup in Manchester the following week.