Feature: Dean Downing In-depth Pt 2

Part 2 of our serialisation of an in-depth interview with Dean from Brother UK Cycling where Dean talks about the family and racing with younger brother Russell. 

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Feature: Dean Downing In-depth Pt 2

Dean Downing was one of the most successful domestic pros in the modern era and is now a sought-after coach. Enjoy part one of our serialisation of an in-depth interview with Dean from Brother UK Cycling. You can read the full article on the Brother UK Cycling Blog.

Dean and Russell Downing were preceded by two generations of cycling Downing brothers. Their grandfather Cyril was one of five boys, all of whom would cycle the length and breadth of the country to watch top-class racing. A ride across the Pennines from their home near Rotherham to watch Tom Simpson race at Fallowfield seems small beer compared to a later journey south to Herne Hill, broken by a stop at Peterborough.

Cyril passed his love of the bike to sons Ken and John. The former, Dean and Russell’s father, was a noted track rider, racing on grass and hard surfaces, and winning a bronze medal in the national tandem championships in the 1960s. Uncle John was another track specialist with a career that spanned three decades. Dean and Russell, therefore, are members of an authentic cycling dynasty, born in the coalfields of South Yorkshire. Community is as important to Dean as to Brother UK, a business as supportive of its neighbours in Tameside as its partners in British cycle sport.

Dean recalls a childhood spent in the mining village of Thurcroft. He and Russell were among 20 children who lived on Steadfolds Lane and who would play together on a grass oval. Football was a daily activity (Russell later joined the academy at Rotherham United). When the group played “Olympics”, their bicycles became a tool for something more than “burning around the crescent”. A competitive pairing that would later compete at a World Championships was born.

“There’s definitely a bond between brothers. In good times, we each knew what the other was thinking, and in tough times we were able to help each other out, on the bike and off. Russ is a born winner. He was always the more focussed and winning rider. I had my share of victories, but Russ had some fantastic wins. We’d work off the back of each other. Getting one-twos with your brother is pretty cool,” Dean says.

Victories for Russell, just ahead of Dean, at the 2005 and 2008 editions of the Lincoln Grand Prix, and victory for Dean at the same race in 2007, when Russell finished third, offer an insight into their dominance of the domestic road scene, either when racing for the same or competing teams. The partnership reached its apotheosis, however, as the national Madison champions picked to represent Great Britain at the 2004 World Championships.

Click here to read the full article, or see the links below to listen to Dean in conversation with Aussie Larry, Timothy John and Phil Jones MBE, the Managing Director of Brother UK, on the Brother UK Cycling Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify.

Full article: click here

Apple Podcasts: click here

Google Podcasts: click here

Spotify: click here

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