PREMIER Calendar leader Russell Downing bagged his sixth series win when he sprinted to victory in the East Yorkshire Classic in Beverley on Sunday.
Downing was the only Pinarello rider in a seven rider break which included three rivals from the Rapha Condor-Recycling squad, but he still managed to thwart Rapha?s best efforts and take the victory.
Rapha had to settle for second place secured by Kristian House just inches behind, while Dean Downing – winner of the National Criterium Championship 48 hours earlier – was third, 14 seconds behind.
?It was a really hard course, but when I saw I was alone in a break with four Rapha riders I knew it was going to be interesting,? said Russell afterwards.
?We got the break formed but it wasn?t really going anywhere because the course is tough – the lead was just hovering around one minute.
?I felt rough for the first couple of hours after my crash on Friday, and also because I did about four hours on the bike on Saturday, but my strength came through in the last hour, which is where I needed it, especially when I?m battling against three Rapha guys!?
Team orders meant that, once Downing was clear with Kristian House in the final circuit, the Rapha rider sat on Downing?s wheel. But even after five miles on the front Russell had enough strength left to hold lead the sprint and hold off his rival, with brother Dean Downing taking third, 14 seconds back
East Yorkshire Classic, Beverley, 130km.-
1 Russell Downing (Pinarello RT)
2 Kristian House (Rapha Condor-Recycling same time
3 Dean Downing (Rapha Condor-Recycling) at 14sec
4 Robin Sharman (Sigma Sport RT) at 17sec
5 Marcin Bialoblocki (Sports Beans-Wilier)
6 Ben Greenwood (Rapha Condor-Recycling)
7 Simon Richardson (Plowman Craven RT) all same time
8 Peter Williams (Pinarello RT) at 4-00
9 Matt Stephens (Sigma Sport RT)
10 Kit Gilham (Kinesis UK) all same time