SCORING his fifth win in seven races, Russell Downing boosted his Premier Calendar Series tally with victory in the Tour of Blackpool in Lancashire on Sunday.
Downing (Pinarello RT) now leads the series by 276 points from brother Dean, and looked strong as he sprinted to victory at the end of the 140-kilometre event ahead of Ian Stannard (Landbouwkrediet).
It marked a good weekend of racing for Downing, who took second spot in Friday night?s Blackpool Grand Prix criterium around the streets of the seaside town.
Downing attacked with Stannard just as the bunch reached the start of the finishing circuit with around 16 kilometres to go, and quickly established a lead.
Plowman Craven and Rapha Condor pushed on hard in a bid to bring the leaders back, but they were unsuccessful, and on the line it was Rob Hayles (Halfords Bikehut), the newly-crowned national champion who won the last round of the Premier Calendar, who took the final podium place in a five-strong chasing group.
?I think I?ve got the series in the bag now,? said Downing afterwards. ?But I?ve not really been looking at the points – winning races is what it?s all about and this was a great one today.
?It rained on and off throughout and absolutely hammered it down on the run in to the finish, but it was a good race and everybody got stuck in and raced positively.?
For his part, Hayles was content with third spot. ?It?s been a good week for me, taking a couple of wins and a third place today, so I?m pretty happy.
?I wasn?t going to bust a gut today, I?m really tired after the last few days and I?m happy to make the podium.?
See this week?s Cycling Weekly for more on the Tour of Blackpool.
Tour of Blackpool (Premier Calendar round seven).-
1 Russell Downing (Pinarello RT) 140km in 3-30-45
2 Ian Stannard (Landbouwkrediet) at 3sec
3 Rob Hayles (Halfords Bikehut) at 1-02
4 Peter Williams (Pinarello RT)
5 Evan Oliphant (Plowman Craven RT)
6 Dean Downing (Rapha Condor-Recycling)
7 Tony Gibb (Plowman Craven RT) all same time
8 Rob Partridge (Rapha Condor-Recycling) at 3-55
9 Ian Wilkinson (Science in Sport)
10 Andy Roche (Pinarello RT) all same time