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Tuesday morning news – 03/05/05

You can’t keep a good man down
Russell Downing rounded off a great week at the Ruban Granitier stage race in Brittany by taking a third stage win.

Recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed’s Russell Downing today completed an amazing week for the 27 year old in the Ruban Granitier Breton stage race in Brittany, France with a third and final stage victory in front of 10,000 people in Josselin. As a result he sealed 1st place in the point’s competition and moved up onto the 3rd and final step on the podium in the race for overall honours.

After relinquishing his overall lead yesterday to French pre-race favourite Stéphane Pétilleau in a hard fought 5th stage, Russ powered through to take another fantastic win, catching two riders with 300 metres to go who were still clear after they were part of a break of seven riders that formed in the early skirmishes of the stage.

‘Fonzy’ said of his week’s exploits “I’m very pleased with my week here, three stage wins and the green jersey and third overall, I couldn’t of asked for better results, I felt great all day today”.

Final overall standings
1 Stéphane Petilleau (Fra) Bretagne Jean Floch 23.02.54
2 Charles Guilbert (Fra) Bretagne Jean Floch 0.27
3 Russell Downing (GB) Recycling.co.uk 0.34
12 Julian Winn (GB) Wales 1.50

Chas Messenger Stage Race
This was the biggest race held over the bank holiday weekend and it saw some very fast racing and some of the country’s top road racers. Notable ‘time trialists’ Kevin Dawson, Zak Carr and Stuart Dangerfield all featured well in the race and Dawson took the overall honours. Tony Gibb has reverted to his Plowman Craven Associates team after leaving Team DFL, although he couldn’t continue his winning streak and was pipped by former team mate Phil Dixon for a podium place.

Stage 1 Hillingdon 64km
1. Evan Oliphant Recycling.co.uk/MG Xpower 01:27:01
2. Tony Gibb Plowman Craven Assc st
3. Kevin Dawson Planet X RT st

Stage 2 TT
1 Zak Carr Team Clean 1 00:13:08
2 Stuart Dangerfield Science in Sport.com 2 00:13:33
3 Adrian Langley Pedalon.co.uk 3 00:13:37
4 Tony Gibb Plowman Craven Assc 4 00:13:40
5 Kevin Dawson Planet X RT 5 00:13:44

Stage 3 RR – Cublington circuit 102km
1 Martin Smith Team Milton Keynes 02:12:29
2 Steven Higgins JE James RT 02:12:34
3 Stuart Dangerfield Science in Sport.com 02:12:39

Stage 4 RR Whitchurch
1 Phil Dixon Team DFL E 2:39:44
2 Kevin Dawson Planet X RT E 2:39:44
3 Duncan Urqhart VinerBikes/Agisko E 2:39:44

Final Overall
1 Kevin Dawson Planet X RT E 2 6:33:04
2 Duncan Urqhart VinerBikes/Agisko E 3 0:00:11
3 Phil Dixon Team DFL E 1 0:00:53
4 Tony Gibb Plowman Craven Assc E 4 0:01:22
5 Mark Lovatt Planet X RT E 5 0:03:28
6 Stuart Dangerfield Science in Sport.com E 6 0:04:11
7 Ben Greenwood Recycling.co.uk/MG-XPOWER/Litespeed E 7 0:04:31
8 Alex Higham Stilton RT E 8 0:04:47
9 Zak Carr Team Clean 1 16 0:04:58
10 Evan Oliphant Recycling.co.uk/MG-XPOWER/Litespeed E 17 0:05:30

Casagrande capitulates
The solemn-faced Italian climber and all-rounder has hung up his wheels the week before his favoured stage race the Giro d’Italia. Casagrande’s most notable wins included; three Giro stage wins, two Clasica San Sebastians and a Fleche Wallonne title.

Vyacheslav Ekimov crashes, and is out for the Tour
Former Olympic TT champion and Lance Armstrong’s right hand man crashed his bike after an accident on a training ride with Lance in Austin, Texas. ‘Eki’ or ‘Slava’ as he is known to the Discovery team was chasing to get ‘back on’ when he hit a pot hole and crashed heavily. It is reported that he smacked his chest on the stem and then fell on his back – he broke his sternum and a vertebra in his back. He was taken to hospital but has been released and is due to be flown to St. Petersberg in Russia for further treatment. Discovery Director sportif Dirk Demol said to Eurosport.com:
“We’re going to find a solution but it won’t be easy, Eki and Hincapie are not easily replaceable be it on the flat or even in the middle mountain stages.”

He will certainly miss the Tour and could only get back to racing in August, if at all as he is now 39 and nearing the end of a very long career which has included an incredible 14 Tour de France finishes. His on-the-road tactical nowse and team captain status will be missed come July.

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