Cycling: Downing brothers ready to renew partnership with new British team

Cycling brothers Russell, left, and Dean Downing.
Cycling brothers Russell, left, and Dean Downing.
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South Yorkshire cycling trio Russ and Dean Downing and Adam Blythe are hoping a bit of warm weather training Down Under will set them up for the 2014 season.

The Downing brothers from Rotherham and Sheffield’s Blythe have all joined new British-based squad NFTO Pro Cycling with hopes high for a successful year.

And Russ Downing, aged 35, said a three-week training camp in Adelaide, South Australia, which starts this weekend, will be the perfect tonic after the British winter.

“Training has been going well but we’re looking forward to the trip,” he said.

“There’ll be eight of us going including Dean and Adam so it’s not the full squad but it’s just the right amount of people to get the most out of it.”

Russ Downing was with Germany-based team NetApp-Endura last season after a spell alongside the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome at Team Sky.

Downing said NFTO will focus on races in Britain: “The three main goals will be the Tour Series, the London Classic and the Tour of Britain.

“We’re preparing for all three of those. It’s unlikely that we’ll race in Europe - most of our sponsors are British-based and the calendar looks busy enough as it is.

“We (Russ and Dean) have been doing quite a lot of work behind the scenes with the team, which I have enjoyed.

“It’ll be good to get racing when the season starts.”

Blythe, aged 24, is a regular training partner of the Downing brothers and joins the team after being with American-based BMC Racing on the UCI World Tour last year.

However, it was the chance to join up with elder brother Dean for his final season on the professional tour that was too good an opportunity for Russ Downing to turn down.

“Knowing it would be Dean’s last year racing made it an easy decision to make to leave Netapp-Endura,” he said.

“I think the last time we were on the same team was 2006. There’s a good mix of youth and experience in the team with the likes of Adam.

“I’ll be acting as road captain and we’ll plan who we’re racing for as circumstances dictate. Hopefully we get a few wins.”