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Downing Wins Beaumont Trophy
Russell Downing sprinted to victory in the Beaumont Tropy - part of the Virgin Money Cyclone Festival of Cycling - in Stamfordham, Northumberland today to keep Endura Racing's 100% record in Premier Calendar events this year intact.
The race saw a multitude of breaks go clear from the moment the flag was dropped but nothing was able to open up a decisive gap and on the final 14 mile lap, three groups came together and a bunch kick was looking likely.
There was no shortage of riders wanting to attack on the final lap including Downing and Paul Voß, but nothing stuck and the race was decided in a sprint from the leading 25 riders. Downing won by a wheel from Chris Opie (Team UK Youth) and Marcin Bialoblocki (Node 4 - Giordana). Scott Thwaites finished fourth and first Under 23. Scott continues to lead the Premier Calendar after five rounds of the seven race series.
It was a bizarre old race. I think it goes to show how professional the sport is now in Britain. We split it as a team and normally we’d have ridden away because we rode so hard but it still came back together and I think Rapha did an amazing job.
In the headwind section we had four or five up there and a few of us were really gassing it, me and Scott were really working hard in the headwind and Paul [Voß] was saving himself because he knew it was coming back and then he and Rob [Partridge] went away (in two separate groups). We thought at that stage, it may be over but it was so windy and so much was happening the numbers were not right.
Rapha were not happy so they brought it back and then we got in that final move and it wasn’t ideal as I had to chase moves and do some of my own attacks but we were good. Two laps in, we were working for Scott, and then at the end we were still working for Scott and I attacked with 400m to go and no-one came round me. Vossi, JT [Jon Tiernan-Locke], Rob; all did an amazing job. We were all there in the last two or three kms and I screamed at Vossi to go with a km to go and it worked out great.
I struggled a bit with the distance after all the crits and I was up and down today. I got in the early move and was pretty happy with that. That group though split after Rob’s group came back and Russ and Vossi were up the road and JT rode really well to help me out a lot and managed to get me up to the front of the race.
It feels good to be leading the series. It’s not easy and you have to be consistent, so when I saw Marcin had jumped across to the lead group halfway round that last lap, that’s when I spoke to JT and said it would be nice to get back up there to protect my series lead. I had faith in the lads they could win but I knew Marcin would be up there as well and if he’d have got second or third and I had been twentieth and not in that lead group, he’d have been making up a lot of ground on me in the series.
I was back in the third chase group with Oli [Beckingsale] when Marcin got across to the front so I bridged with Oli to the second group with JT and we could see the lead group was just ahead. So we thought we might as well ride here and that worked well with me getting fourth and Marcin third. Sure, he closed the gap a bit but I still have a decent lead which I’m happy about.
Julian Winn (Sporting Director):
They showed strength as a team again today and that was pleasing. We rode to a plan and that was to take it up on the Ryals and we had good strength in numbers in that first move when we shut that break down. But, to my surprise, I have never seen such a big group coming into the finale. We had Russ and Scott in there though and you’d always put some good money on them being in the shake-up. It wasn’t how I wanted it to finish because it is always very risky though. Russ however was on a bit of a mission today after having a hard time last week.
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Report and photos by Larry Hickmott | www.VeloUK.net
Video from British Cycling Premier Calendar's YouTube channel by Cyclevox