Russell Downing heading for Het Nieuwsblad


Despite being the victims of theives in France, Cult Energy Pro Cycling with Russell Downing are heading for classic Het Nieuwsblad

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Russell Downing heading for Het Nieuwsblad



Russell Downing. Pic: Cult Energy Pro Cycling

Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s participation in the French stage race, Haut Var, ended abruptly Sunday morning when the team mechanics realized the theft of bikes and equipment worth approximately 300,000 Euros.

In spite of a thorough social media campaign, the stolen goods are still missing. However, with an incredible amount of support and practical help from friends and sponsors, the Cult Energy riders will be ready to take part of Saturday’s first Belgian cobblestone semi-classic, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

The race is the cobblestone opener in Northern Europe and some of the big classics that favorites use to test the legs and their opponents. Saturday, the race organizers celebrate the 70th edition of the race, which has been dominated by Belgian riders with 53 victories and among them are Nick Nuyens and Philippe Gilbert.

Home turf favorite, Tom Boonen still hasn’t won the race and he will be up against compatriot, Gilbert, Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins, former winner of the race Sep Vanmarcke and last year’s winner Ian Stannard.

Russell Downing is another of the Brits in the race wearing the colours of Cult Energy Pro Cycling. “I’m really happy to be heading back to Belgium for Niewsblad” says the Yorkshire rider. “Its the fourth time in my career and I have got some great memories of the race. One of them was helping Juan Antonio Flecha back in 2010 then placing 18th in 2011”.

“I’ve been training for my stint in Belgium and that’s been going well back home on the Yorkshire roads which are not to different so I’m really looking forward to getting going on Saturday. I’d like to add that it’s not been an easy start for team Cult Energy with our bikes getting stolen and the staff having to work around the clock most nights this week to get the riders there. Thanks guys, we’ll try not to let your down for all your efforts and hardwork. We have a recon on Thursday with the team to see if the cobbles have got any bigger and if the roads have got any narrower. I can’t wait!”

Russell’s Cult Energy Pro Cycling DS, Luke Roberts says “If you’re not targeting at least a top-10 position, you’re not really in the race and we have a few riders capable of finishing with the best. Russell Downing and Martin Mortensen have both trained hard over the winter and they know these races really well so I reckon they will have the best chances for a top position”.

“However, the rest of the group still lack the race kilometers and the experience on the cobbles but they’re motivated and we want to take part of the development of the race to show we’re in there”.

The line-up: Russell Downing, Michael Carbel, Alex Kirsch, Martin Mortensen, Michael Reihs, Mads Pedersen, Joel Zangerle and Troels Vinther.

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