Six years after his first national circuit race championship title, Russell Downing will once again wear the white, red and blue jersey of national champion.
As with his last win, the younger of the two Downing brothers succeeded Dean as the bearer of the title. Six years ago, Russell won alone: this time around, he won from a bunch sprint.
Enjoying a fine run of form, Downing conquered the slippery cobbles in the wet in Beverley to take his second national circuit race title.
“It’s been a few years, but it’s good to get the jersey back,” explained Downing. “My brother [Dean] was saying to me beforehand that he hoped someone good would win it so I think he was quite glad that I won it”.
One of the most marked men in the bunch, Downing tried to go clear in the latter stages of the race, but was brought back by the formidable train of the Tour Series winners, Halfords Bikehut.
Halfords tried to control the race to ensure it came down to a bunch sprint, but this only played into the hands of the CandiTV man, who lead the sprint home ahead of Jeremy Hunt and Rob Hayles.
“Halfords were riding for Rob [Hayles], but it was good for me,” said Downing, “because I felt beforehand that my sprinting was good.
“Jeremy [Hunt] jumped into the last corner which disrupted things a bit. I was on Rob’s wheel but went with Jeremy, got his wheel coming out of the corner and from there opened it up”.
It was Downing’s fourth criterium win of the season and he’ll be hoping to make that five on Saturday at the Blackpool Nocturne.
National circuit race championship results:
1. Russell Downing (CandiTV Marshalls Pasta)
2. Jeremy Hunt (Cervélo)
3. Rob Hayles (Halfords Bikehut)
4. Dean Downing (Rapha Condor)
5. Malcolm Elliott (CandiTV Marshalls Pasta)
6. Jon Mozley (Madison.co.uk)
7. Ian Wilkinson (Halfords Bikehut)
8. Graham Briggs (CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta)
9. Tom Barras
10. Simon Gaywood (Corley Cycles)