Report: Abergavenny Grand Prix

Riding so strong no-one was able to live with him around the streets of Abergavenny, Dean Downing was the winner of the Abergavenny GP.


Downing won the race to celebrate his daughters second birthday and attacked a long way out and while his gap came down to 11 seconds at one point as Endura racing attempted to bring him back, Downing held on and won the race in style, pointing to a tattoo he has under his jersey dedicated to his daughter.

In the sprint for second, Graham Briggs crossed the line just ahead of Dean Windsor to make it a 1-2-3 for Rapha Condor Sharp. The first Under 23 was Endura Racing’s Scott Thwaites who next week travels to Italy for the European Under 23 Road Championships.

Event Press Release
ROTHERHAM’S Dean Downing had a very good motivation to roar home to victory in Friday night’s excellent Get Connected Welsh Open Criterium in Abergavenny.

The British ace could easily have stayed in Yorkshire and celebrated his daughter Lily’s second birthday. Instead, the 36-year-old came down to Wales with his Rapha Condor-Sharp team and duly lead a clean sweep of the medals and Elite Circuit Series points.

After being drenched with celebratory champagne by his team-mates, Downing said: “I think most of the world knows it is my daughter’s birthday today. I have had a few seconds (places) this year so to win on her birthday is pretty special. We had a little party going on in the morning but I had to leave to come down here. It was a long drive for me but it has definitely been worthwhile.”

Downing went for the lead around 45 minutes into the hour-long and five finishing laps race ahead of the chasing pack. That advantage ranged between 15 to 18 seconds.

As he waved his arms in the air to the big crowd on the circuit as he reached the chequered flag, slowing dramatically, Downing’s lead was cut to just a handful of seconds – but it was more than enough to secure the win he wanted. The success was made even sweeter because he had lost out to team-mate Dean Windsor in the second round in Stafford.

He added: “I didn’t quite know how long I had done minutes-wise. Then we got five (laps) to go and I stuck my head down and went up a couple of gears. “Stafford I lost a bit of concentration in the last laps and Deano got across. I was a bit tired in the sprint there so he just did me but, for me personally, tonight was special.

“And we dominated here with first, second, third and fourth, so it was not a bad outing.” Australian Windsor had an early drive to the front of the race in an attempt to grab the initiative but he was hauled back into the lead group.

But Downing’s victory was enough to put him on top of the Series rankings after three rounds, and in a position to go a step further than the second overall he achieved last year, when Endura Racing’s Ian Wilkinson took the title. Windsor was third in the sprint to the line behind the other Rapha Condor-Sharp rider, Graham Briggs, in second.

Downing added that the clean sweep was a real team effort. “We had a chat as a team before the race and said myself and Dean were up at the front but we had two other riders in Briggsy and Jimmy Mac (James McCallum) who can win the race as well. We proved that tonight that we are a strong Crit team. But I was happy to get away on my own tonight.”

The Live Photo Album

And there was no hanging around for Downing post-race either as he jumped back in the car and drove through the night to get home for a late celebration with his wife and Lily on Saturday.

Endura, who have Olympic silver and bronze medalist Rob Hayles in their squad, did have some consolation in the Elite Race as Scott Thwaites came home to take the Under-23 title.

Live Pictures Below — if you can’t see them, click here:

1. Dean Downing, rapha Condor Sharp
2. Graham Briggs, Rapha Condor Sharp @ 2 seconds
3. Dean Windsor, Rapha Condor Sharp
4. Tom Murray, Sigma Sport Specialized
5. James McCallum, Rapha Condor Sharp
6. Chris Opie, Pendragon Le Col Colnago
7. Scott Thwaites, Endura Racing
8. Tom Last, Sigma Sport Specialized
9. Liam Holohan, Raleigh
10. Sjames Stewart, UK Youth
11. Rob Partridge, Endura Racing
12. Jake Hales, Corley Cycles
13. Will Fox, Forme
14. Matt Cronshaw, Raleigh
15. Dexter Gardis, Forme
16. Jack Adams, Forme
17. Dave Clarke, Endura racing
18. Callum Willkinson, Endura racing
19. James Sparling, Raleigh
20. Gael Le Bellec, raleigh

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