Talkingshop: Dean Downing returns to the Tour after five years


A star in the British cycling scene, it’s been five years since Dean Downing pinned a number on in the Tour of Britain and he’s worked very hard to do well this year.

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Heading out on a short ride this morning was a one of the country’s most prolific winners of cycle races in Britain, Dean Downing. The Madison Genesis rider is now in his late 30s and his best result in the Tour of Britain being 4th on a stage. He showed this year with a Premier Calendar win and other victories that he still has the legs to compete with the best and he comes to the Tour of Britain having do ne a lot of preparation work.


“I’ve just done seven days racing in ten which is a big block. A stage race over seven days would be a big block of work but the way we did it was doing five single days, a few days rest, and then two days at the end and as we were racing against fresh riders each time, that made it harder.”

“We were all very tired after the finish but I think we got a lot out of it. I have done a few hard sessions every now and then as well as rested so I have worked very hard for this Tour of Britain. The last few years my season has been predominantly crits.”

Dean, like Yanto Barker, has been on the race over the last few years but in a TV role rather than racing. “Last time I rode the Tour of Britain was 2008 and I had a decent enough race. Fourth on the first stage (his manager Roger Hammond was 5th he points out!) and a few top tens showed he had the legs but after that, the Tour never really figured in his race programme.


“For me, riding this race is massively important. The race has got bigger and better over the ten years and Mick Bennett and his Sweetspot crew have done such good work. This year is possibly the hardest it’s ever been and for me, it will be important to help Bibby. He’s done well in previous versions and was second or third when he hit the deck with Geraint and Bibby is in good condition this year.”

“I’d like to have a go on the last stage but I have to get there first!”

“It is going to be tough but I have put the work in since coming out of the last crit at Sheffield in July so right through August and September I have had done a hell of a lot of training for me at this time of the year!”

Dean says that the course is going to be hard for everyone, not just him and says that he expects even the international riders will be a little worried about the lanes and the steep climbs that they don’t race over in France and so on.

“There are quite a lot of kickers that may not look bad on paper but will hurt some legs. It will be a tough race to be at the front all the time, something we’re used to in British events.”

The team is going to sit down on Saturday afternoon and Dean says, if Roger wants him to get in breaks, then that’s what he will be doing. “I am though looking forward to being Ian Bibby’s wingman and we’ve spoken about it and I know Liam is also keen to help Bibby on the climbs so we have a got a good set up to get Bibby into the best possible position.”


“It’s a big race to do and everybody ups there game for the Tour of Britain. Riders train hard and managers put a lot of work in with logistics and stuff because it’s a massive massive race to be invited to”.

“No-one wants to come here and sit around at the back. You want to get stuck in and make the sponsors proud, the team proud and make Mick Bennett realise we do want to race hard and are worthy of our place.”

Good luck to Deano in the Tour …



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