For the Downing brothers, there is no better victory than the Lincoln GP. And they should know.
Three of the last four editions of the classic Premier Calendar event were won by a Downing; Russell in 2005 and 2008, Dean in 2007.
As Cycling Weekly?s Lionel Birnie commented following last year?s epic battle, perhaps the race-deciding cobbled climb of Michaelgate should be renamed Downing Street.
Recent editions of the Lincoln have inevitably featured one or other of the brothers from Rotherham, but the 2008 finale was strictly a family affair. Plowman Craven?s Simon Richardson lost touch in the closing kilometre to leave Russell and Dean to slug it out on opposing gutters of the 1 in 6 climb.
A kick from Russell before the final corner sealed the victory by a three second margin and he had time to milk the applause from the big city centre crowd.
?You never get bored of winning the Lincoln,? he said afterwards. ?As you swing round the final corner, glance over your shoulder, and hear the crowds cheering you over the line, there’s no feeling like it.?
Rotherham and Lincoln may be 50 miles apart, but plenty of Downing supporters make the journey to cheer the boys on.
?I have said in the past I would trade any of the others to win the Lincoln. I love it. All the boys come out, it is local for me, so it?s a good day.?
Dean is still coming back into form after a pre-season training camp crash but will be equally fired up for the big day.
Rapha Condor team-mate and 2006 winner Kristian House has been there or thereabouts this season and should feature in the moves. And with Simon Richardson now in the Rapha ranks and Chris Newton ? another former Lincoln winner ? in their eight-man squad, the boys in black look strong on paper.
But having ended a string of bad luck with a win in last week?s Premier Calendar, the Chas Messenger, Russell is going to take some stopping on Sunday.
?I have been going well enough, just puncturing and crashing,? he said. ?Hopefully, that is it now. I have broken the duck and can keep going now.?
Above: Russell Downing turns the screw on Michaelgate
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|LINCOLN GRAND PRIX|
Sunday, May 10
138km, 86 miles (11 laps)
Start: 10am, Yarborough Sports Centre
Finish: Castle Square, Lincoln
2008 Russell Downing
2007 Dean Downing
2006 Kristian House
2005 Russell Downing
2004 David O?Loughlin
OTHER NOTABLE WINNERS
1968, Doug Dailey; 1990, Brian Smith; 1983, Malcolm Elliott; 1982, Mark Bell; 1996, Kevin Dawson
Above: last year?s podium, (l-r) Dean Downing, Russell Downing & Simon Richardson
By organiser Ian Emmerson
?The route hasn?t changed from previous years, it?s exactly the same.
We?re just hoping for a nice, sunny day and we?ll be happy.
?As for the favourites, the Downings obviously love this race and they?ve monopolised over previous years.
?I know Kristian House would like to win the race again and it?s a race Rob Hayles has always said he wants to win. It?ll be interesting to see how the Swedes (MagnusMaximusCoffee.com) get on over the cobbles, that?s Magnus Backstedt?s kind of thing.?
1. Russell Downing (Pinarello RT)
2. Dean Downing (Rapha Condor)
3. Simon Richardson (Plowman Craven)
|HOW I WON…|
By 2008 winner Russell Downing
“We had just dropped Simon [Richardson]. There were three of us for the last couple of laps and we just gapped Simon at the bottom of Michaelgate on the last lap.
“I chose to go right and then chop the corner and go back to the left gutter as you come round the first corner. But we were side by side and I could sense that Dean was trying to surge up the left gutter and I looked across and that cracked him.
“I put a little bit of a surge in before the corner and that was it: he had gone. He wasn?t going to beat me because he had sat on for a lap and I wasn?t happy with that.”
|CW?S SUPER TEAM CHALLENGE|
Halfords still has the lead in Cycling Weekly?s Super Team Challenge after three events.
Russell Downing?s boys are staying on terms with Halfords after his win at the Chas Messenger, whilst Sports Beans are a valiant third.
Halfords Bikehut 68 pts
CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta 51 pts
Sports Beans-Wilier 26 pts
Rapha Condor 17 pts
LeCol-Colnago 10 pts
Plowman Craven-Madison 5 pts
Accountancy and taxation services provider Abstraction (www.abstraction.eu.com) has signed up as title sponsor for the next three editions of the Lincoln GP.
Additional support comes from East Midlands Development Agency and Lincoln City Council.
For detailed maps, history and the latest start list news, visit the Lincoln?s official site
Lincoln Grand Prix: Official site