Cycling: Downing is a steely competitor, says Bryan

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ONE of Sir Bradley Wiggins’ former Olympic teammates has praised the contribution to cycling of Rotherham’s Russell Downing.

Bryan Steel, who won a silver medal at the Athens Games in 2004 alongside Wiggins in the team pursuit race, said Downing and his elder brother Dean have been great servants to the sport. Steel was a recent guest at an event hosted by Sheffield cycling club La Squadra at the Chimney House in Kelham Island.

He said: “I know Russ quite well and have raced against him a lot over the years.

“I think Russ and Dean have been great ambassadors for the sport and are still going strong towards the back end of their careers.”

Downing will be part of the NetApp-Endura team at Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix race.

The Spring Classic, which covers a 250 kilometre course from Compiègne to the north-east of Paris to Roubaix on the France-Belgium border, is famous for its 52km of cobblestones that the riders have to negotiate en route to the finish at the outdoor Roubaix Velodrome.

Sheffield’s Adam Blythe has been named on his team’s - BMC Racing - provisional start list, as has Sky’s Rotherham rider Ben Swift.

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