Second best once again for Downing

CYCLING: AFTER sprinting to second place in the Clayton Velo Spring Handicap in Lancashire the previous week, Rotherham cyclist Dean Downing had to settle for second best once again when he was outpaced in the Eddie Soens Memorial event at Aintree Racecourse on Merseyside.

Downing, 35, had done much of the attacking throughout the 81-kilometre race, but in the gallop for the line the Rapha Condor-Recycling team leader was outsprinted by Tony Gibb, leader of the rival Plowman Craven RT team who was winning the Eddie Soens event for the fourth time.

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"It was a hard race, no-one could control it," he said. "There were two big teams in there, and although we attacked nothing went away.

"At the end, the sprint was really hard to control, I just didn't have the legs to go for it. But I'm still looking forward to the start of the Premier Calendar in Wales next weekend, we've got a good squad this year."

The Bikeline Two-Day in North Wales is the first Premier Calendar event of the season, with the Pinarello Racing Team including Downing's brother Russell and Sheffield's Malcolm Elliott.

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