Russell Downing stage 5 Tour of Ireland 2008

With a superb performance at the Tour of Ireland, where he only narrowly missed out on the overall win, and the Tour of Britain coming up, took the opportunity to speak to Pinarello rider, Russell Downing.

Downing?s win on the fourth stage of the Irish race propelled him into the race lead, where he stayed until being outgunned by a rampant Columbia team on the final stage.

?I was gutted when I didn?t win, but [Marco] Pinotti [the eventual winner] is world class. Columbia had more cards to play [than I did]?.

That performance in addition to his domination of the Premier Calendar this season, has earned him a place on the Great Britain short-list for the World Championships in Italy. Downing has only represented his country at World Championship level once before, at Salzburg in 2006.

?I didn?t actually know I was on the short-list,? the Yorkshire-man admitted when he spoke to But ?to go out on such a big race, it?s brilliant. Hopefully the Tour of Britain goes well next?.

Asked whether he will be staying with the Pinarello team next season, Downing was not sure. ?We?ll see if anything comes up. But I?ve worked quite closely with Phil [Griffiths ? the team manager] bringing the team up, so I?d be happy to stay on?.

With the Tour of Britain fast approaching, Downing is now Britain?s biggest hope of success.

Any plans? It?ll be the ?same as with the Tour of Ireland where I went in aiming for a stage win. But if you?re going for stage wins every day it harms your chances for the overall. I?ve got really good form at the moment, so I want to do well?.

Despite not having the strongest team in the race, the Yorkshire-man will certainly be a force to reckoned with in next week?s Tour of Britain.

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