Road: Downing Wins Abergavenny Crit

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Dean Downing Wins Abergavenny Crit

National Elite Circuit Series, Round Three
Abergavenny, Wales
Event Listing | Event: 8th July 2011
Report & Images: Andy Whitehouse
Additional reporting: Snowdon Sports

Abergavenny Elite Circuit Series on Sky!

Sky Sports 3 will be screening the Abergavenny and Colne (Essex) Elite Circuit Series events on Tuesday 19th July, 2011. Screenings are 6.30 & 7.00pm, and will highlight the thrilling hour long Elite Criterium. This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy fantastic racing from Wales own doorstep.

After the disappointment of Stafford Rapha Condor's Dean Downing made sure he was first across the line at the Abergavenny criterium. The ever-popular rider stole away from the field with around fifteen minutes to go and made sure his lead wouldn't be relinquished even though the chasing bunch had brought him back to eleven seconds with three laps to go.

The race was run in perfect conditions with the black clouds holding off for the evening which encouraged the crowds to flock to the opening night of the Abergavenny festival of cycling to witness a night of fast and furious criterium racing.

From the gun the bunch stormed away with Team Raleigh's Liam Holoham and Rapha's Graham Briggs breaking free, but the chasing pack soon reeled the two back into the fold and that would be the order of the night's racing: small breakaways jumping off the front, struggling for a worthwhile split only for the bunch to ride down the gap.

The tight hairpin at the bottom of the course on Frogmore Street was proving to be the thorn in the side with riders virtually having to stop on the tight turn and with a slow drag back to the town centre this was where the fresh legs were winning. A crash on the bend saw most of Team Raleigh taken down and with a lap out saw the blue and white jerseys on the back foot for the remaining laps.

With Downing still cruising away it would be Endura Racing and Sigma Sport who would have to do the work to chase down the lone leader but no one was going to take the lead away from Downing who dedicated the win to his daughter on her second birthday.

A sprint for the line saw again the dominant Rapha team take four of the top five places with Graham Briggs just stealing second spot from team mate Dean Windsor.Endura Racing's Scott Thwaites was first home in the Under 23 category riding in seventh spot.

That result provisionally puts Downing into the lead in the series after the third of five rounds, while Windsor is also well placed to challenge for the overall following his victory in the Stafford Grand Prix last week.

After the race, Dean Downing spoke to Andy Whitehouse:
"My team-mates have just soaked me with champagne. I enjoyed that ,most of the World know its my daughter's birthday today so to win on her birthday is pretty special. We had a little party this morning but I had to leave early to get down here but it's been worthwhile. It's a great crowd here again. I wasn't sure how much I'd got over the bunch but when I saw five (laps) to go I put my head down and went. I lost a bit of concentration at Stafford in the last few laps and Deano (Windsor) got the win, great team win but for me personally tonight is a special win. The team has been dominate again tonight,we have a really strong crit team and all the riders have a chance of winning.

Provisional Results

1. Dean Downing Rapha Condoe Sharp 1.00.54
2. Graham Briggs Rapha Condor Sharp 1.00.57
3. Dean Windsor Rapha Condor Sharp 1.00.58
4. Tom Murray SigmaSport 1.00.59
5. James McCallum Rapha Condor Sharp st
6. Chris Opie Pendragon-Colnago st
7. Scott Twaites Endura Racing st
8. Tom Last SigmaSport 1.01.01
9. Liam Holoham Team Raleigh 1.01.02
10. James Stewart Team UK Youth 1.01.03