RUSSELL Downing is confident that Endura Racing teammate Jonathan Tiernan-Locke can maintain his lead in the Tour of Britain all the way to the end of the final stage tomorrow.
Tiernan-Locke, from Plymouth, took over the gold jersey yesterday with a second place finish on the 189.8 kilometre ride from Welshpool to Caerphilly and heads onto familiar ground today with the seventh stage in the race cutting across Devon from Barnstaple to Dartmouth.
Downing, from Rotherham, said: “JT (Tiernan-Locke) knows these roads like the back of his hand. It will be a really tough stage, probably the toughest of the race.
“We’ll have to control the stage in the same way we did yesterday and set it up for him to do his thing on the mountains. He ripped them apart yesterday.”
Downing is still feeling the effects of a high speed crash on Thursday but will battle through the pain. He said: “I feel a bit stiff. I did it proper with scrapes to both my shoulders and arms. My left knee has ballooned up as well.”
Downing is still well positioned in the points competition in fifth place, 18 points behind leader Boy Van Poppel.
The Tour finishes tomorrow with the 147.7km ride from Reigate to Guildford.
n Rotherham’s Ben Swift has been named in the Great Britain road race squad for the World Championship in Limburg, Holland, on Sunday, September 23.