X-Power dig deep for underweight Downing

Dean Downing of the X-Power-Recycling-Litespeed professional cycling team had a surprise at the...

Dean Downing of the X-Power-Recycling-Litespeed professional cycling team had a surprise at the World Cup track event in Manchester this weekend, when his bicycle was deemed too light by officials.

Citing a rule that states that no bicycle may weigh less than 6.4 kg - a measly 14 lb - Downing was threatened with expulsion when his titanium Litespeed was found to weigh 400 grams less than the minimum.

"I had a whip round and drummed up eight pound coins," explained team mechanic Bob Rouse. "I wrapped them up with an old bike chain with a bit of bandage and stuffed it into the bike frame."

The prosaic but inventive solution nearly came up trumps, as Downing rattled round the Manchester Velodrome to qualify for the final of the points race, but his tribulations were not over.

"It was pretty combative stuff, and I got squeezed down over the blue line in the rough and tumble," reported the Yorkshire pro. Crossing the blue line that circles the inside of the track means instant disqualification, and Downing had no complaints about his dismissal.

"I reckon they heard the pound coins jingling up behind them and shut the door on me," he laughed.

Victory in the final went to experienced Frenchman Jerome Neuville, after the home crowd had been entertained by an attack from Olympic hero Bradley Wiggins.

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