Russell Downing has said before he would gladly trade in any of his other wins for victory at the Lincoln Grand Prix. There was no need for such dramatic gestures at the weekend as Downing rounded the final bend into Castle Square ahead of Ian Wilkinson for his third Lincoln win in five years.
Huge crowds lined the barriers of the finish area and the infamous cobbled climb of Michaelgate that characterises this great race.
The breakaway trio of Downing (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta), Ian Wilkinson (Halfords Bikehut) and Chris Newton (Rapha Condor) were together as they hit the bottom of the climb for the last time, but Downing?s acceleration proved too much for Newton and just enough to hold off Wilkinson.
A run of back luck for Downing in early season races appears to have been laid to rest with consecutive Premier Calendar wins and it is business as usual for the man from Rotherham.
As for the rest, it is back to the same question as last season: How do you beat Russell Downing? Wilkinson is getting close, but struggles to match Downing?s turn of speed in a sprint. Newton and Dean Downing are in the ballpark, but Russell has taken his ball home and is refusing to come out and play.
This was the 54th edition of the Lincoln race, a fine tradition for the best Premier Calendar event on the calendar. Most of the field would, like Downing, gladly cash in other wins to be able to throw their arms up in Castle Square.
Check down the results and you will find no less than six former winners in the top twenty; Russell Downing and his brother Dean, Chris Newton, Kristian House, John Tanner and Malcolm Elliott ? way back in 1983. Lower down the order is 1996 winner Kevin Dawson.
Another great day’s racing thanks to organiser Ian Emmerson OBE and the city of Lincoln.
Russell ?Fonzy? Downing: cool on a bike, not so hot at yogic flying
1. Russell Downing ? CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta
2. Ian Wilkinson – Halfords Bikehut
3. Chris Newton – Rapha Condor
4. Dean Downing – Rapha Condor
5. Malcolm Elliott – CandiTV Marshalls Pasta
6. Mark McNally – Halfords Bikehut
7. Arno van der Zwet Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam
8. Simon Gaywood Team Corley Cycles
9. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke Sports Beans-Wilier
10. Kit Gilham Sigmasport
11. Jeroen Janssen Plowman Craven-Madison
12. Kristian House Rapha Condor
13. Dan Craven Rapha Condor
14. Simon Richardson Rapha Condor
15. John Tanner Team Sportscover
16. Peter Williams Candi-Marshalls Pasta
17. Simon Holt Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta
18. Tom Murray Plowman Craven-Madison
19. Tom Slagter Ruiter Dakkapellen Wielerteam
20. Jon Mozley Plowman Craven-Madison
Russell Downing – CandiTV Marshalls Pasta
ABSTRACTION UNDER-23 AWARD:
Mark McNally Halfords Bikehut
|SUPER TEAM CHALLENGE|
It?s warming up in the Super Team Challenge, with the top three teams swiping all the points at the Lincoln.
CandiTV narrow the gap on Halfords with two riders in the top five. With Rapha Condor also placing two men in points scoring positions, they move up to third.
Halfords Bikehut 78 pts
CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta 69 pts
Rapha Condor 31 pts
Sports Beans-Wilier 26 pts
LeCol-Colnago 10 pts
Plowman Craven-Madison 5 pts
Wilkinson?s Halfords Bikehut head the table
|MAN OF THE RACE|
What can you say about Elliott that hasn?t been said? He put in sterling work for Russell Downing at the head of the bunch, kept the race under control in the latter stages of the race, and still had the power to hammer up Michaelgate for fifth place.
All that from a 47 year old. We hate to keep banging on about it, and Elliott would be Man of the Race no matter what his age. But to still be in the mix 26 years after last winning the Lincoln is fantastic riding. A year?s supply of Sanatogen and a subscription for Saga Magazine are winging their way to Sheffield.