Could today have marked the real beginning of “something special” for a talented local cyclist?
Teenage star Mark Downey secured his first stage win in a major European race, and he says he ‘can’t believe it.’
The Dromore man was first in the final stage of the Tour Nivernais Morvan, racing for his French team VC Toucy.
“What a feeling” he wrote on Facebook.
“My first big win in Europe in one of the biggest races here in France winning the final stage of TNM.
“I simply can’t believe it. I have worked so hard for this moment this year and for the pieces to fall in place. I’m so happy.
“I have to say this win is for my mum and dad - since its Father’s Day! The support they have given me to get me were I am today is unthinkable.
“(Thanks also to) my team VC Toucy for looking after me so well, my team-mates helping me throughout the races and my coach David Muntaner, who has given me the best support and advice possible. Let’s hope this is the start of something special.”
Mark won the 167.8km stretch at Decize in central France. That result helped him to a very impressive 14th place in the overall classifications.
Downey, of course, made his debut at Ireland’s biggest race, the An Post Ras, last month - and finished an impressive 13th.
Add to that another headline-making ride this weekend and perhaps Downey’s dreams of a “special” career are just beginning to take shape.