Russell on a downer as Swift continues to soar

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Rotherham cycling duo Russell Downing and Ben Swift had differing fortunes during the latest stage of their races.

The Team Sky riders are competing on opposite sides of the Atlantic with Downing halfway through the gruelling 21-stage Giro d’Italia and Swift midway through the week-long Tour of California.

In what was billed as the toughest day yet in the Giro, Downing, aged 32, from Thurcroft was hampered by a heavy cold on the undulating route from Tortoreto Lido to Castelfidardo to finish well down the field.

Today Downing is on the Giro’s last flat stage from Castelfidardo to Ravenna before the race heads back into the mountains.

Swift enjoyed another successful day in California with fifth place in the ride from Auburn to Modesto. While he couldn’t repeat his stage win of earlier in the week he was in the thick of the action all the way to the finish line.

Team-mate Greg Henderson of New Zealand held off the 23-year-old from Anston to take the overall race lead.