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Downings at it again
This report comes from the Recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed Team.

Team captain Russ ‘Fonzy’ Downing won today’s stage of the Ruban Granitier Breton in typical Downing style.

Russ was in a breakaway from 16km with seven other riders, with 25km remaining, in Russ’s words “What an epic day! I was in the break all day, then attacked on my own with 25km to go. Crazy move, but it paid off in true Fonzy style!” Russell’s elder brother Dean came fifth in the bunch sprint for second place. Rob Hayles 46th, Chris Newton 62nd, Rob Sharman 64th and Paul Manning 102nd place. These riders only lost 8 seconds on the stage, and that was to their team-mate and stage winner Russell Downing.

Russ is in second place in the General Classification, 1sec behind the race leader. Russ leads the Green Jersey (points) competition, and is also in 2nd place in the Combativité competition, as well as being placed 4th in the King Of The Mountain competition. Recycling.co.uk / MG XPower / Litespeed are leading the team competition by a margin of 26secs.

Today’s stage is 162.5km and is from La Chapelle Des Marais to Auray. With three sets of King Of The Mountain points up for grabs and also three sets of Hot Spot Sprints points to play for, the stage is sure to be fiercely contested again.

Super Mario calls it a day

In a career that spread across almost 20 years The 38 year-old Lion King gets off the bike after 17 seasons as a professional and 189 victories: Highlights include 34 Giro d’Italia stages (a record). Added to this was a host of sprint victories and a larger than life character that saw him take cycling up a level or two in Italian homes. It’s fair to say the cycling world needs more characters like him.

Liquigas Sport President Dal Lago says: “We understand his choice. He was a great athlete”

It is quoted on his website (excuse the translation) as being “A painful, but honest, decision”

he continues: “Announcing my withdrawal one week before the Giro d’Italia is a painful but honest decision. The public will understand. I would have liked to be at the start of the Giro d’Italia in Reggio Calabria looking for the victory again, fighting for the pink jersey… Maybe, an “old man” like me, who has given a lot to cycling and a lot has received, now has to recognise the right moment to stop. I thank the Liquigas-Bianchi team who has trusted me and deserves all my gratitude. I am honoured to have ended my career as a rider wearing the jersey of such a great team”.

Liquigas Sport S.p.A. President Paolo Dal Lago admits Cipollini’s politeness: “Mario has always been loyal and responsible with us both when he started his last agonistic season well-trained and also today in such a difficult moment. Cipollini has given his last victories to our team as a present (a stage in the Tour du Qatar and the Giro della Provincia di Lucca). He has been a great athlete and I am sure he would be able to give much to cycling again».

Next Friday at 11.30 am, Mario Cipollini and Paolo Dal Lago will hold a press conference in Milan.

www.mariocipollini.net

The Team Fat Birds UK 2 Day Women’s Road Race – 16th and 17th July

The event will consist of the following stages:

STAGE 1 – Individual Time Trial, 4Km
STAGE 2 – Road Stage, 80Km
STAGE 3 – Team Time Trial, 16Km
STAGE 4 – Road Stage 2, 84Km

Entries should be sent to Stefan Wyman at 6 Southfield Road, Rugby, CV22 5NJ. Entries are £40 (£50 on the day) and the closing date for entries will be 24th June. Cheques should be payable to ‘Team Fat Birds UK’.

The rules of the race have been establish to encourage positive riding and allow those riders with difficulties in one stage, to continue in the next stage. The event will be for teams of 6 riders. A team can be made up of 6 registered club riders or 6 nominated composite riders. Nominated composite teams must give a team name and all wear identical jerseys (Help will be provided here!). Individuals may enter and will be allocated a team at random selection for the purpose of the team time trial. Selected composite teams will be allocated a team name and jerseys by the organiser.

Sprint primes will be on offer on the road stages and will be in the form of time bonuses. Each sprint prime will attract a 5 second time bonus for 1st, 3 seconds for 2nd, and 1 seconds for 3rd. These bonuses will be deducted from the riders overall time after the corresponding stage. There will also be time bonuses at the finish of the stage. The race leader after each stage will be awarded the overall race leaders yellow jersey.

Points will also be awarded at the sprint primes on the two road stages for a Sprint Leaders blue jersey and competition with an overall prize. Points will be awarded 5, 3, 1, for the 1st 2nd and 3rd riders on each sprint at the two sprint points.

Hill primes will be also be awarded at the QOM primes on the two road stages for a Queen of the Mountains Leaders red jersey and competition with an overall prize. Points will be awarded 5, 3, 1, for the 1st 2nd and 3rd riders on each hill at the marked points.

Any rider not finishing a stage will be given the time of the last finisher plus 2% of the winners time added. They will then be allowed to start the next stage and continue in the overall classification. This is to encourage riders to complete the event and also maintain a full field for the final stage. If anyone requires further information e-mail here or call 07788 714 103.

Chas Messenger 3 Day Stage Race
Chas Messenger, Senior vice Patron of British Cycling and President of Central Division has arguably done more than anyone else towards the promotion of cycle sport in Britain in the past 50 years as organiser, administrator and team manager.

He was the man who established the Milk Race Tour of Britain to be ranked alongside other major sporting events and past riders still talk in awe of some of the fearsome and ingenious routes he devised. That same ingenuity was used in his many promotions in the Chiltern Hills where he has probably used every road at one time or another.

As National Team Manager he was the man behind the same day World Championship road race victories by Beryl Burton and Graham Webb in 1967 in Holland, an achievement never since matched. More recently, the sport in both Central Division and even nationally can thank Chas for his achievement in persuading Hillingdon Council to construct the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit which is now in its eighth year and caters for more riders and more races than any other facility in the country. And he is still one of the judges every Tuesday evening!

In 2003 Chas Messenger was presented with the prestigious Union Cycliste International Volunteer Award for his long service to the sport and the inauguration of the Chas Messenger Trophy stage race is Central Division’s own more humble ‘Thank You’ to Chas for his past, present and future contribution.

With last years winner John Tanner deciding to spend the weekend with his family, he leaves the second and third placegetters from 2004, Mark Lovatt (Planet X) and Warrick Spence (London Dynamo), in the hunt to take the honours along with 2003 victor Rob Enslin (Viner Bikes/Agisko). However their task will not be easy with Recycling.co.uk/MG competing with Shaun Snodden, Ben Greenwood, Evan Oliphant, and Leigh Cowell along with 2002 World Silver medallist on the track, Tony Gibb who rides with Luke Bettany, Ryan Connor and David Smith also from Team DFL.

A winner in the area the race is being held in this year already, Stuart Dangerfield (Science in Sport) also rides, as does Zak Carr (Team Clean) and strong teams from JE James Cycles with Dave Coulson, Gareth Hewitt, Steve Higgins and Mark Wordsworth. The race will also feature local teams including Team Milton Keynes, AW Cycles, Team Synergy and Angliasport.

On day 1, the race kicks off with the first stage at the Hillingdon cycle circuit in West London over 64km on Saturday 30th April. The following day sees the race move to the pictureseque village of Stewkley in Buckinghamshire where the Headquarters will be for the day. The race has two stages on the second day, a 10km individual time trial based on the Cublington Circuit in the morning starting at 10:00am and then a 90km road race stage on the circuit in the afternoon. The race concludes on Monday the 2nd of May with the fourth and final stage at Chilton, also in Buckinghamshire over 110km.

Organiser Ian Chatfield says that with the race now in its third year, it continues to grow in strength, and hopes it lives up to the expectations of the field. With the pending reorganisation of the British Cycling Competition Structure, it will be necessary to reorganize the format next year to encourage the growth of the race.

Chas Messenger was the man who established the Milk Race Tour of Britain, and has spent over 50 years as organiser, administrator, and team manager. As National Team Manager he was the man behind the same day World Championship road race victories of Beryl Burton and Graham Webb in 1967 in Holland and to this day is still present at many races.

MARSHALLS WANTED: The organiser has asked anyone who can help with marshalling, to e-mail him

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