PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
Recycling.co.uk's Russell Downing yesterday took his first major win in the colours of the British road champion, winning the Havant International Grand Prix in Hampshire. To complete a fantastic day for the team Rob Sharman took the overall lead in the year-long national road series with just one race to go after finishing in fifth place.
Recycling dominated the event, which was held up several times for safety reasons. Fortunately, after some long negotiations between the event organisers and the police the race was shortened to 120km and confined to one 15km circuit.
Once the race had resumed an early break went clear that contained around nine riders, with Recycling boys Russell and Dean Downing, Robin Sharman and Chris Newton in attendance. In the last few laps Newton was one of the main driving forces in the break and after applying some pressure on one of the climbs the lead group was whittled down to just five, with Russell and Sharman making the split together with Yanto Barker (Wales) and Mark Lovett (Planet X).
As the race reached the final kilometres Barker attacked, with Downing the only rider to join him, and it was these two who came into the finish alone. Barker led the sprint out but Downing was just too strong, coming round the Welsh international to win by half a wheel.
"I came here to win, to win this race again is fantastic. All credit to the organisers for speaking to the police and putting it back on, because when they stopped us for a second time I thought we would all be going back to the changing rooms," said Downing. "It's good to have a major win with the national champion's jersey on my back. I'm looking forward to the Tour of Britain now. This is good preparation for that. To ride your own national tour with the jersey on your back is going to be amazing, I definitely want a stage there, that'll top my season then, I can retire after that."
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM