Dean Downing (DFL-Cyclingnews) scored his second victory of the 2006 season, winning the Trofee Van Haspengouw (Aalst-St.-Truiden) interclub event on Sunday. The 160 km race had a field of 189 riders from 33 different teams, and was run in very windy conditions.
A crosswind section saw 10 riders surge off the front, including Downing and his teammate Bernie Sulzberger. Despite a concerted chase from Beveren/Quick.Step, the leaders gained 1'12 before the five seven kilometre finishing circuits. At three and a half laps to go, Downing attacked with Geoffrey De Meyer, Matti Helminen (Profel) and Sulzberger, and there were now four leaders. Downing attacked on his own with one and a half to go, but only succeeded in dropping his teammate. Then on the last time up the climb - while dangling 20 metres off the back - he took advantage of the other two watching each other to attack over the top, and the others were unable to respond. To cap off a good performance by DFL-Cyclingnews, Sulzberger finished sixth, with Sven de Weerdt in ninth and Cameron Jennings in 24th. The team won the team prize as well.
Speaking Flemish on the podium, Downing seemed quite at home. "That hurt my legs that last few kilometres," he said. I think I attacked them in the 11, and I was doing 60 kmh to start with. I know De Meyer was the strong man of the three of us, so I had to go as hard as I could. I had a quick look back when I got into the twisty bit behind the finish, a relaxed a bit when I saw I had about a hundred metres, and they were looking at each other. It was a nice feeling to cross the line solo and win my first big interclub race here in Belgium. I had two second places over here when I was here last with John Saey Team, but this has to be my biggest win for a long time. Actually, I can't remember winning any big race like this one. There were loads of people out watching too. It was great getting my hands in the air again. It's a big race too, so I'll see if I get any interest from this win."
For more information on the team, see: www.teamdfl-cyclingnews.com