ROTHERHAM’S Russell Downing had some sweet revenge on his former team as he took the final stage of the Tour of Norway yesterday.
Downing, aged 33, was released by elite British squad Team Sky last year but beat home favourite and overall race winner Edvald Boasson Hagen in a sprint finish at the end of the 172km ride from Gjovik to Honefoss.
Now riding for Endura Racing, who are the top domestically-based team, Downing has been in excellent form this season. However, he ranks this win as his best so far this year.
He said: “I’ve had a couple of decent victories but this tops the lot. To beat Sky makes it a bit sweeter I suppose, but there’s no use crying over spilt milk. I have to just look forward.
“I had a great lead out from Zak Dempster (an Endura colleague) and I was able to sit up well before the line. There were a lot of World Tour teams in this race so it makes it a very good win.”
Downing also upstaged Rotherham’s Ben Swift, who was making his return to racing for Sky after dislocating his shoulder. The two are good friends with Downing and his elder brother Dean acting as mentors to Swift.
Downing said: “One of the first people to congratulate me was Swifty. He was looking good. The race will have helped him a lot.”