Post race chat: Russell Downing

Having his first race with new sponsor Giordana at the Eddie Soens Memorial, Russell Downing still managed a top five despite two incidents in the race which cost him

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Post race chat: Russell Downing

“Grim” was the way Russell Downing summed up his first race in the Giordana colours in the Eddie Soens but added he was happy with how the legs responded in his first race of the 2019 season.

The veteran rider lined up with the scratch group in a team of one and it wasn’t long before the first piece of bad luck struck. “I had a mechanical and had to chase back on and that really gassed me” he says. “I put my hand up (to signal he had a mechanical) and was trying to move to the right as my chain had jammed and stopped me dead in the headwind. Someone who was off the back then ran into me and to be honest, the injuries from that are now hurting quite a bit!”

“I switched off from that in the race though and got back going and it was one of those races where you had to be at the front and be active. I was just trying to split it as that is safer and then finally a group formed and it was horrible full gas from there”.
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The bad luck didn’t stop there though. Rus had got himself into a group of around a dozen riders with race leader Matt Bottrill who was a lap up. At this time, there were half a dozen or so laps left and Rus attacked but was countered by Gruff Lewis of Ribble Pro Cycling who had Bottrill join him.

Russell was left chasing in a trio of riders, him and two juniors. The only podium place up for grabs was third. Rus takes up the story. “I went to jump them as the guys were on junior gears so I thought I’d get in early with the tailwind and jump them, and I went to go right and the wind caught me and another a rider and I pulled my foot out and that was game over”.

The podium place eluded him but the form is there. “I felt really strong. It was a strong man’s race out there with that wind and I didn’t feel fast but it wasn’t a fast day. I have work to do but it’s slowly all coming together and it was good to have a hit out”

“It would have been nice to get third but I never had much luck out there with those incidents and was still in the mix and so I’m happy with that”.

What is next for ‘Fonzy’ I asked and Russell replied, “I have a few weeks without races. Coalville I think may be next. We’re off to Mallorca for a little training camp, myself and Dean at Downing Cycling which will be good. Then Coalville, Danum Trophy and Klondike which is when I need to be firing. Two or three races will be perfect before Klondike along with the training camps” he finished with.

Russell certainly looks like he will be one of the riders in the mix when the big races roll around and despite being on his own, as we saw last year, that won’t stop riders who have the legs and the experience to spring a surprise or two in races.

Thanks Rus for the chat …



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