Russell Downing left for America yesterday (Thursday Jan 25) to join his new Health Net team in California, ?I?ll be there for about a month,? Downing said before he left.

?The first three days are going to be press and sponsor presentations, so that will give me time to get over any jet lag. Then we have a two-week training camp for the whole team, followed by an extra one-week for the riders doing the Tour of California. That will be my first race, and from there it is pretty much non-stop,? he added.

Downing, the former national road race champion, will be the team?s protected sprinter next year and several British riders who have experienced American pro racing think it will suit him down to the ground.

The South Yorkshire rider is traveling to America well prepared after an excellent winter of training, ?Including a lot of five hour batterings in the Peak District,? he said.

Downing?s full race program can be found on his website –