Following up his victory in both last year?s event and the previous round of the Premier Calendar, Russell Downing (Candi TV-Marshall?s Pasta) claimed his third victory in the Lincoln Grand Prix today.
Cheered on by the crowd lining the cobbled Michaelgate climb through the centre of the city, the Sheffield based rider beat fellow breakaways Ian Wilkinson and Chris Newton at the finish in Castle Square.
?It means a lot to win here again,? said Downing who first won the race in 2005. ?For me it?s a pretty local event and all the boys who we train with ride out here to watch.?
After victory in last week?s Chas Messenger One-Day, Downing was always going to be ranked amongst the favourites for the 54th edition of the Lincoln. His punchy, aggressive style is well-suited to the kermesse style circuit and he admitted he?d made a special effort to hold back in the opening laps.
?I just love the noise going up the climb,? he noted. ?It makes it pretty hard early doors to compose yourself.?
Nonetheless it was a fast day?s racing from the gun and the pace rarely dropped beneath 25mph throughout the 11 laps of the eight mile circuit. Consequently, significant moves were few and far between with only one break from the bunch showing any promise of sticking.
This formed over the top of the climb on the fifth lap when thirteen riders established themselves out front. Newton?s Rapha team were the best represented with four riders in the group, although both Downing and Wilkinson could also claim team mates in there.
Kristian House (Rapha) looked particularly strong on the mid-race passages of the climb but it was Downing who eventually forced the decisive split with an effort on the penultimate ascent.
As he put his head down over the top, Wilkinson and Newton bridged across and, working together, the three prised open a half-minute gap on the flat suburban roads that comprise the majority of the course.
Re-entering Lincoln, Wilkinson then Newton tried a couple of speculative moves but neither of these came to much. At the bottom of the climb the three leaders were still together and Downing forced the pace. Although Newton couldn?t respond, Wilkinson did and only conceded the upper edge on the top section of the climb.
At the finish in the shadow of the cathedral, Downing celebrated with a single arm salute.
Lincoln Grand Prix – Result
1. Russell Downing – CandiTV Marshalls Pasta
2. Ian Wilkinson – Halfords BikeHut
3. Chris Newton – Rapha Condor
4. Dean Downing – Rapha Condor
5. Malcolm Elliott – CandiTV Marshalls Pasta
6. Mark McNally – Halfords BikeHut
Ian Wilkinson leads with two laps to go
Russell Downing wins his third Lincoln GP
Time for a quick rest
Congratulations from Downing’s team boss Phil Griffiths