DOWNING ON FIRE
Russell Downing?s domination of the British scene this season has been almost complete. Now he wants the national title, but knows he has a fight on his hands to beat the likes of David Millar, Mark Cavendish and the rest of the riders returning from foreign campaigns.
In windy south Wales at the weekend, the Pinarello Prince was again in majestic form to win the Robert Price Grand Prix of Wales.
?I felt good yesterday, but it has been hard lately because I?ve been trying to train hard without putting too much strain on my wrist,? he said. Downing broke a bone in his wrist during a racing trip to Norway to help him prepare for the National Championships.
In Cycling Weekly?s Battle of the Brothers competition it?s looking a bit like one-way traffic. Russell won again, Dean was a DNF. Not that Dean should feel bad. It?s not as if anyone else is any closer to beating Russell on a consistent basis.
Russell 6, Dean 2
Our competition to find the best team in Britain is in danger of turning into a procession. The Russell Downing-inspired Pinarello squad are romping away with it and picked up another 15 points in the GP of Wales.
But neither Rapha-Condor-Recycling or Plowman Craven could do anything to contain Pinarello. Plowman?s first rider was Evan Oliphant in seventh. Rapha?s best was Chris Newton in 14th, six minutes down.
Unless Rapha make a move soon, this contest will be all over with four Premier Calendar races and the Tour of Britain still to go.
CW?s Superteam Challenge ? latest standings
1. Pinarello 76pts
2. Rapha-Condor-Recycling 32pts
3. Halfords Bikehut 18pts
Downing does the double in Abergavenny
UNDER-23 RIDERS SHOW WELL ON HOME SOIL
In his first year as a senior, Peter Kennaugh took second place in the GP of Wales. Britain?s Academy squad riders were split into two teams, Great Britain and Team 100% ME and were told not to ride together, but not to work against each other either.
Ben Swift (Great Britain) and Alex Dowsett (Team 100% ME) were on the podium with winner Russell Downing in Friday?s Abergavenny criterium, and team manager Rod Ellingworth declared himself happy.
?It?s been a good weekend for them,? he said. ?Pete did really well yesterday. He was in the second group and had to attack to get across to the leaders, which he did well. If he?d been in the group Swifty was in, he may have done even better although saying that, I don?t think he could have beaten Russell.
?Swifty did too much in the race, he knows that. He could have sat in on the break a little bit more, or just rolled through, but he was there forcing it.
?I was also really impressed with Andy Tennant. He worked really hard for the team and then finished 11th.
?All in all, it?s coming together nicely for the Nationals,? where they will all ride together as Team 100% ME. ?I think they?ve shown a little bit of what they can do but I was pleased the way they raced.?
CAVENDISH GETS HIS SEVENTH WIN OF THE SEASON
Mark Cavendish won the final stage of the Ster Elektrotoer in Holland, to take his tally of wins for 2008 to seven. That?s just four short of equalling last year?s 11 wins.
The High Road sprinter is now the eighth most prolific British male road rider of all time in top level professional events. See CW?s all-time list of British professional winners
The victory all but confirms Cavendish will be starting the Tour de France a week on Saturday. First, though, he will take part in the National Road Race Championship in north Yorkshire. Look out for our extensive preview on www.cyclingweekly.com later this week.
Another favourite for the national title, Roger Hammond, showed his form is good by taking sixth place in the sprint on the last day of the Ster Elektroteor.
MARTIN?S BIG WIN
Dan Martin, who won the British junior road race title in 2004, rides for Ireland now but that doesn?t mean British fans can toast his success.
The 21-year-old Slipstream climber is Stephen Roche?s nephew. Uncle Stephen won Paris-Nice in his first year as a pro. Dan Martin won the Route du Sud.
Dan Martin wins Route du Sud
Martin: A lot easier than I expected
MEDALS FOR THE BRITS AT MTB WORLDS
Britain?s downhill mountain bikers took three golds and two silvers at the World Championships at Val di Sole in Italy.
Gee Atherton beat fellow Brit Steve Peat in the elite men?s event.
His sister, Rachel Atherton, won gold by a huge 12-second margin in the women?s race.
Josh Bryceland was Britain?s third gold medallist, with Sam Dale making it another one-two in second place.
Liam Killeen was fourth in the elite men?s race as three Swiss riders, led by Christoph Sauser, swept the medals. Oli Beckingsale was tenth.
NINE IN A ROW FOR HUTCH
Michael Hutchinson won the National 50-mile Time Trial title for the ninth year in a row, to add it to his 10-mile and 25-mile titles already won this year.
Hutch wins again
COOKE THIRD AT GRANDE BOUCLE
Nicole Cooke tried with everything she had to dislodge the Cervelo Lifeforce pair of Christiane Soeder and Karin Thürig on the last day of the Grande Boucle, but she could not shake them off.
Soeder won the stage to Sestrieres by 29 seconds with Cooke, who had been constantly aggressive, taking second. Thürig was fourth, just four seconds back, but lost her overall lead to her team-mate.
Read the Grande Boucle report here
BRITISH JUNIORS IN GERMANY
Luke Rowe was an excellent fourth after making the break in the first stage of the Sparkassen Musterland Tour in Germany. He followed that up with third place on Saturday morning?s second stage, with Mark Kristian taking 11th place.
The Brits were again in great time trial form in the afternoon?s third stage. Rowe was second, ten seconds behind winner Jakob Steigmiller in the 9.6-kilometre test. Christian was third and Erick Rowsell was fourth. It meant Rowe went into Sunday?s final stage just four seconds off the pace overall.
With Alexander King lying eighth after three stages, it meant Great Britain also led the team classification.
Things came unravelled on that 127-kilometre leg, with Rowsell abandoning and Rowe and Christian finishing outside the time limit.
But King finished in the bunch, which meant he defended his eighth place overall. Britain?s other finisher was junior Paris-Roubaix winner Andrew Fenn, who was 37th at 5-11.
KINESIS IN SERBIA
Five Kinesis riders finished the seven-day Tour of Serbia and now return home for the National Championships. Tom Last was the best of them, 30th overall, 20-14 down on the overall winner. James Sampson was 40th, at 30-10, Matt Higgins was 44th at 35-06, Richard Cartland was 48th at 44-13 and Matt Cronshaw was 77th at 1-19-10.
HARRIS COMPLETES DUTCH STAGE RACE
Nikki Harris (De Sprinters Malderen) finished 22nd overall in the three-day Ster Zeeuwsche Eilanden in Holland. She was 1-03 behind winner Ina Teutenberg. Neither Swift Racing pair, Emma Davies-Jones or Gabriella Day finished the final stage. Davies-Jones had been 15th on stage two.
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DOWNING ON FIRE