Dean Downing is another British cycling export, plying his trade in Europe during 2006 with the newly merged DFL-Cyclingnews.com-Litespeed team, based in Belgium. The brother of British national road champion Russell Downing, 'Deano' has posted the team's first wins of the season and has come into the 2006 season with excellent form. He spoke to Cyclingnews' Ben Atkins after the team's second training camp of the year.
Downing has had a promising start to the 2006 season, scoring wins in the Neerlineder kermesse held in Belgium on March 5, and then posting another win last weekend at the Trofee Van Haspengouw (Aalst-St.-Truiden) interclub event on March 25.
Downing said at the team launch earlier this year that he'd changed his training for the lead-up to the 2006 season; concentrating on training on the road through a British winter, rather than racing on the track (both Downing brothers are highly accomplished track riders). In fact, by mid February, he'd logged 7000km since mid-November, riding around the roads of Sheffield, near his home. At the launch, he told Cyclingnews, "I've done enough training, I want to get racing". Indeed, all those wintery kilometres have certainly paid off as he's given the newly-merged squad an excellent start to the season.
Cyclingnews: The DFL/Cyclingnews.com team is based in Belgium - do you know whereabouts exactly, and do you know anything about the area?
Dean Downing: A small town called Booischot; its about 20 minutes from Leuven where Stella is brewed, so that could be dangerous
CN: Having a quick scan down the list of riders, it's a pretty young team [in fact 'Deano' is the oldest at 31]. Does anyone stand out as a leader that you'll all work for, or will it be left to each individual race?
DD: I think they had to sign some young guys after signing me [laughs]. I think the new director doesn't want there to be an out and out team leader as such, just leave it to individual races. We have quite a few different style races planned this season; the flat Belgium races and the Tour of China, which I hear is a bit hilly, so it'll be hard for a rider to be up there in every one [of those races]. It can sometimes put pressure on a leader if the riders are always looking to them for everything, too.
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