Russell carries on a great tradition of British riders doing well in this competition. Over the years riders such as Julian Winn, Kristian House and Ben Swift to name but three have worn the jersey and despite a challenge from yet another British rider, Jon Locke, Russell has another Skoda Yeti in his collection and the jersey to wear in what is probably the queen mountain stage in Wales on Wednesday.
Afterwards he was present in the press conference and was understandably pleased with his ride. “The aim was to go for points with two second category climbs and a first category one and that paid off.” Asked about defending the jersey, he said to the press that “we’re going to take it day by day. If we can keep it all the way to London ,it will be a great achievement”.
“We have looked at the next three stages in a training camp a few weeks ago so we know what is coming up. I’ve also raced over the roads in the Junior Tour of Wales so I know them pretty well and I have some good memories so we’ll be aggressive and see what comes of it.”
Russell with his two breakaway companions, Andy Fenn and Boy van Poppell, were caught on the KoM climb of Gun Hill and Russell admits he knew they were coming but it still came as a surprise. “We had heard there was a split over the top of the hills before Gun Hill at the feed so I basically raced to Gun Hill, went flat stick, because I didn’t want to be caught before the KoM.”
“Jon Locke came out of no where and with the crowd and the motorbikes, I didn’t know where anyone was and so I put my head down and kept going”.
Asked how he felt riding in what was a pretty good selection of many of the worlds best pros with many of them British, he replied “I went though a bad patch after Gun Hill with the effort but it was good to look around and see the company I was in. It helped with the team tactics that were going on into the finish as well.”
“When Alex attacked with 20k to go, I thought that is typical Alex but he did a really good ride because we were going some with Cav’s teammates pulling full gas and I couldn’t believe it when I popped my head up and he was still away with 3k to go! It was a shame he was caught”.
“Although it was group full of star riders, it was also like I was in a group with my mates because I’ve grown up with Swifty, Geraint, and Alex….”