DOWNING BACK IN TRAINING

Dean Downing is back to normal training after a lengthy period of recuperation from his bad crash in Spain whilst at a training camp last month.

The Rapha-Condor pro fractured his collarbone and suffered head injuries in the crash, needing 16 stiches.

However, after a month of riding on the turbo, Downing has been given the all-clear and has headed out to Spain for some more early season training.

Russ Downing and his CandiTV Pinarello team-mates head out to Spain this week for their third and final pre-season training camp.

Downing and co. will be based, as usual, on the north side

of Mallorca, in Pollenca.

Downing took part in a criterium in Singapore late last week, finishing eighth.


SOLID START FOR BRITS IN SOUTH AFRICA

The first day?s race in the Giro del Capo in South Africa went to Barloworld sprinter Robbie Hunter.

Rapha Condor?s Kristian House and Simon Richardson both finished in top ten positions, with fellow Brit, Barloworld?s Steve Cummings, ending the day 14th.

The Giro is now a series of four one-day races after the UCI intervened to prevent the originally planned five-stage tour from taking place due to insufficient funding. Tomorrow?s [Thursday] race covers 143km starting in Durbanville.

1 Robert Hunter (RSA) Team Barloworld

2 Christoff Van Heerden (RSA) MTN

3 Johann Rabie (RSA) Neotel

British riders

8 Kristian House (GBr) Rapha Condor

9 Simon Richardson (GBr) Rapha Condor

14 Stephen Cummings (GBr) Team Barloworld


BELLIS IN MURCIA

Britain?s Jonathan Bellis (Saxo Bank) is currently in Spain for the Tour of Murcia stage-race, which begins today.

Bellis made his professional debut at the recent Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy. The Manxman is also preparing for the upcoming track World Championships later in the month.


CHAS MESSENGER UPDATE

Ian Chatfield, organiser of the Chas Messenger stage-race, announced recently that this year?s race will be reduced to one day due to financial reasons.

The race will be held around Long Crendon, using the course based on Chearsley, Ashendon and Chilton, on what has proved to be a tough and demanding circuit in the past.

The race will go ahead with the support of Plowman Craven. Chief Executive Simon Barnes said he was glad, ?to be helping the race again and was sure with the same organising team as last year the race would again be a success”.

The race will take place on Sunday May 3 and the entry fee will be revised to £27.00. Entries as per handbook.


OPIE PUSHED INTO THE BARRIERS AT BEVERBEEK

Having returned to his Dutch base, Britain?s Chris Opie (Dwvg-Wilton Cycling Team) suffered a little bad luck in Saturday?s Beverbeek Classic in Belgium.

?I was pushed into the barriers and had to coast across the line to a dissappointing 30th place!? explained Opie to cyclingweekly.co.uk.

Sunday?s Omloop van der Houtse Linies in Holland completed the opening weekend of the season for him where he finished 6th, edged off the podium by Bram Schmitz, Marco Bos and Leander Pronk in what was a closely fought sprint for third place

Niels Scheueneman held on for the win with breakaway companion Niek Basten for first and second. His next race will be the Witte Kruis Classic where Chris is aiming for the podium.


CLARKE WINS IN CAMEROON

Britain?s Dave Clarke won the recent Tour of Cameroon, run over 1,204 kilometres through eight of the ten regions of the African country.

In addition to the leader?s yellow jersey, Clarke also won the ?mountain grand prix? spotted jersey.

Clarke finished the race with an advantage of 2-37 over Slovak Milan Barenyi and 6-47 over Damien Tekou in third.

?The competition went really well for me,? explained Clarke to afrik.com. ?I?m really happy to have won here in Cameroon. I rode well in the northern stage and I?m happy to have taken the overall classification. There are several tactical differences between racing here and in Europe but the level of racing is very good.

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ADVENTURER CHALLENGES CHILDREN TO A RACE AROUND THE WORLD

Monday marked the launch of a month-long national virtual bike race around the world. Cycling adventurer Alastair Humphreys will be inspiring pupils, parents and teachers from over 140 schools across England as they set out on a 46,000 mile race.

Pupils will be virtually following in the footsteps of Alastair who spent four years cycling through 60 different countries as he travelled around the world. This huge feat was described by Sir Ranulph Fiennes as ?the first great adventure of the new millennium?.

The race has been organised by the sustainable transport charity, Sustrans. It aims to inspire and get pupils, parents and teachers cycling on a regular basis. Over the next four weeks 19 Sustrans Bike It Officers will be aiming to get over 20,000 children cycling to and from school.

Bike It Officer, Kathy Bashford said: ?This unique race will act as a great way for the whole school community to join together as they take on other schools from across the country. The most important part of the month long race will be to show pupils, parents and teachers how easy choosing two wheels instead of four for the journey to school can be.

?It is vital that we give young people in communities across the country the opportunity to travel in ways, which are healthy, sustainable and fun. Cycling to school has so many benefits for pupils such as improved health, confidence and concentration as well as the obvious benefits for the environment in which they will grow up in.?

www.sustrans.org.uk

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Monday’s British news round-up