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Win for Downing at Circuit des Ardennes
Russ Downing opened a busy Easter weekend of racing for Endura Racing in perfect fashion by winning the opening stage of the Circuit des Ardennes (UCI 2.2) in northern France.
It took an hour of racing for a break to make it's mark with Bideau (Bretagne-Schuller), Drujon (Auber 93), Daeninck (CC Nogent-sur-Oise) and Bonnet (CC Etupes) finally establishing a gap over the peloton. They were later joined by Guillemois (Vendée U), Matysiak (CCC Polkowice) and Umerbekov (Astana) and as they passed through the 100km mark, their lead had grown to 2m 30s.
With Endura Racing, Itera-Katusha and Rabobank working hard on the front of the bunch for their sprinters, the break was slowly wound in and they were finally caught with 5km to go. The Endura Racing train delivered Downing with precision and he took the bunch sprint in Signy L'Abbaye with a well timed surge for the line.
Just an amazing team performance today and I couldn't let the boys down in the sprint. A perfect team effort from all.
Alex Sans Vega, Directeur Sportive:
A great team effort today. It was very difficult to control the early stages with many attacks. Once the break went, we were able to keep things under control with Rabobank and Itera-Katusha. One last big effort coming into the finish and Russ executed the sprint perfectly.
Brian Smith, General Manager:
As number one ranked UCI Europe Tour Team all other teams are looking at us and not giving us an inch. Endura Racing have taken this difficult task of being the marked team and delivered a performance that shows why we are the number one team in Europe. Our goals are simple... we want to win. These wins are getting harder as other teams look at us to do more work. This is testament to the quality we have within Endura Racing. Russ is a quality rider but the team performance today is most satisfying.
The Circuit des Ardennes continues on Saturday with a 171km stage starting and finishing in Renwez.
Click here for results.
Photos: Hervé Dancerelle & Michel Renaux | www.circuitdesardennes.fr