News: A Very Special Occasion – Dean Downing in Paris


Talking to Dean Downing about a very exciting trip to Paris to represent Yorkshire and get his view on the course in Yorkshire

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Last week, British cycling celeb Dean Downing, who will ride for NFTO Pro Cycling in 2014, went to Paris with his brother Russell to watch the launch of the 2014 Tour de France along with many World stars of cycling.


Dean Downing had fun too at Revolution 41 at Manchester last Saturday

VeloUK spoke to Dean at Saturday’s Revolution meeting where despite not being on top form, he still found time to have a few digs off the front and g the crowd up. When he wasn’t going full gas round the Manchester boards, he spoke about the Paris excursion saying “the word exciting was probably over used when we went to Paris but it was just that, exciting!”

“We were interviewed on Sky Sports with Orla as well as had a chat with our local ITV channel about how we, Russell and I, have been involved like receccing the race route back in August 2012, so to see it all part of the Tour launch and hear our names mentioned was quite exciting.”

“We were really pleased to be invited as part of the twenty people who went out for Welcome to Yorkshire. The launch was amazing. We watched some real cool montages that gave you goose bumps. The great thing was that it didn’t feel ‘corporate’ and they had a lot of fun with the riders that they’d interviewed prior to the launch.”

“There were a lot of Tour champions past and present and team directors too and for Rus and I to be part of that was nice. I really enjoyed it.”

Asked what it was like to be part of the group of riders there along with pros he’d ridden against only a few weeks before on the Tour of Britain, Dean replied “there are some superstars like Contador that I don’t know but there were others like Chris Froome who I’ve been on training camps with before and known Mark Cavendish as well over the last ten years.”

“We had five minutes with Chris after the launch chatting with him and his girlfriend Michelle before they went to Japan and that was good.”

Having ridden the route of the Tour de France in Yorkshire, I asked Dean what he thought the pros would make of them? Anyone who has been in a peloton going over big climbs which us mere mortals may struggle over, will know that these pros go up them at some speed.

2013 TDF Paris press conf Oct 23

I remember Julian Winn chasing me up a climb in the Tour of Britain years ago and having to yell at my pilot to go quicker and quicker.

Dean explained “I don’t think they will even see the hills on stage 1. They will just breeze over them. There are a lot of small roads and when we were in Paris, we spoke to Alan Peiper over there and he was asking the same thing, what is the route like, is it like the Tour of Britain with small roads and it kind of is.”

“It’s a similar route to what the Tour of Britain has done in previous years like going over Holme Moss and the Strines into Sheffield. Whether the race stays together I’m not sure as it depends on how they want to race it. It will be nervous, I know that much. Stage 2 will be difficult because of the short sharp climbs in the final 30 miles which we have trained on.”

“It really is cool that the route will be over the roads we train on when the biggest sporting event in the world comes to Sheffield, our home city.”

Talking about the NFTO Pro Cycling team which he has helped put together for 2014, Dean says that he expects them all to meet up in November like many teams do and they’ll then be heading to Majorca for a training camp where riders will be coming in and out.

“All the boxes are ticked and John Wood (team boss) has done a mega job of getting all the paperwork done for BC and the UCI.”

Looking ahead with still many teams yet to announce their line ups, Dean explained that 2014 is going to be a great season. “We’re all very sad to see UK Youth go and it doesn’t make sense to see what has happened to that group of riders but those riders will find teams.”
“We’ve signed a few as have other teams. So whilst a team has been lost, other teams have been strengthened by those riders. We’re looking forward to getting stuck in that’s for sure …”

This weekend sees the Out of the Saddle dinner organised by Dean and brother Russell. Good luck to them for that.


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