News: 38th Circuit des Ardennes International

Win number three for Russell Downing in Endura Racing colours as he wins stage 1 of the Circuit des Ardennes International (UCI2.2)

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The three day event which is part of the Europe Tour which Endura Racing currently lead, is based in France over three days. Stage 1 saw the riders race 179 kilometres over some quite mountainous terrain with three second category climbs before a descent into Signy l’Abbaye after final GPM sprint.

A small break dominated the stage starting with a small group containing Bonnet (Etupes), Bideau (Bretagne-Schuller), Drujon (Auber), Daeninck (Nogent-sur-Oise) opening up a small gap before being joined by Guillemois (Vendée U), Matysiak (CCC Polkowice) and Umerbekov (Astana).

This group continued to lead the race right up until five kilometres to go when the race came back together and in the bunch kick, Russell Downing of Endura Racing was the winner.

Post race reactions … 

“Back to winning ways!” Russell Downing said after his victory today and his visit to the podium. Russell has had two wins in Europe this year as well as a win at the Eddie Soens. His victory, is part of an amazing run of wins and podiums for the team and so different to last year.

“I was totally lost last year” he explained. “I’d lost myself as a bike rider and while there is no problem working for others, when you are as fast myself it’s good to get those opportunities which never came (with Sky) but now they are there and I’m taking them with both hands!”

Talking about stage 1 today, he explained “Everyone wanted to attacked today. No-one cares as they all want to win and there’s no respect for anyone; it’s just like ‘move out the way’ but it’s all good fun.”

An early break went up the road and Endura took on the chase with help from other teams. “We went back to Rabobank to see if they were going to work and they did. So we had Jack Anderson (Endura Racing) on the front with a Rabobank guy and some young Katusha riders. Then two other teams came and did a bit.”

“They all did a great job of pegging it and then bringing it back. Jack did a sterling job and on the climb with 20k to go, it split a bit and Jack rolled into the finish from there but he’d done his job.”

“We caught the break after the last climb. On that last climb, the break was just there, and I think a small move went away but the lads were near the front covering things just in case and brought it back together for the sprint with 5k to go.”

Photos: Hervé Dancerelle /

“After that, it was a free for all and I had Alex Blain and Zak Dempster to help me get to the front. Blain dropped me off round the outside on the fourth wheel and then Zak hit the front with 800 to go.”

“When I could see the finish, I gave the yell to get a shift on and he did a great job. I think I jumped with about 200 to go, 100 metres into a left hand corner and then 100 metres out. I came out of the corner with the back wheel skipping a bit and it was a few pedal strokes and that was that!”

“The boys rode unbelievable today and we got the win and I’ve got the yellow jersey on my back.”

Russell admits he’s not climbing that well but is sprinting really good so says they’ll see what they can do tomorrow. “We can here with the objective of a stage win and we’ve done that and that’s put me in yellow. So it’s back to the drawing board!

On why the team are able to string these wins together so well, Russell says “As soon as we got together on the camp, we all got on so well. There are no prima donnas, no one who thinks they are better than what they are.”

“Everyone gets a job in the team and they do it. Like today was the sprint for Alex and me and so that was that. The results speak for themselves, the team is unbelievable and its great bunch of riders.”

Alex Sans Vega, Directeur Sportif: “A great team effort today. It was very difficult to control the early stages with many attacks. Once the break went, we were able to keep things under control with Rabobank and Itera-Katusha. One last big effort coming into the finish and Russ executed the sprint perfectly.”

Brian Smith, General Manager: “As number one ranked UCI Europe Tour Team, all other teams are looking at us and not giving us an inch. Endura Racing have taken this difficult task of being the marked team and delivered a performance that shows why we are the number one team in Europe. Our goals are simple… we want to win. These wins are getting harder as other teams look at us to do more work. This is testament to the quality we have within Endura Racing. Russ is a quality rider but the team performance today is most satisfying.”



1 Russell Downing Endura Racing 04:17:14
2 Mauro Abel Richeze Team Nippo @ same time
3 Patrick Clausen Glud & Marstrand @ same time
4 Danny Van Poppel Rabobank Continental Team @ same time
5 Ruslan Tleubayev Continental Team Astana @ same time
6 Benoit Sinner Armée De Terre @ same time
7 Christophe Laporte Avc Aix-en-provence @ same time
8 Nick Van Der Lijke Rabobank Continental Team @ same time
9 Vyacheslav Kuznetsov Itera – Katusha @ same time
10 Pierre Garson Cc Nogent-sur-oise @ same time
11 Stig Broeckx Lotto – Ridley Espoirs @ same time
12 Daan Olivier Rabobank Continental Team @ same time
13 Vladislaw Gorbinov Continental Team Astana @ same time
14 Igor Boev Itera – Katusha @ same time
15 Zak Dempster Endura Racing @ same time
16 Thomas Welter @ same time
17 Matthias Allegaert Ovyta – Eijssen Acrog @ same time
18 Rémi Sarreboubee Avc Aix-en-provence @ same time
19 Emilien Clere @ same time
20 Johan Mombaerts Big Mat – Auber 93 @ same time

35 Alexandre Blain Endura Racing @ same time
48 René Mandri Endura Racing @ same time
79 Paul Voss Endura Racing @ same time
112 Jack Anderson Endura Racing 05:39




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