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Downing and GB Team hope for good result

By Shane Stokes in Raub, Malaysia

Speaking to Cyclingnews after being involved in a 130 kilometre-plus breakaway during the seventh stage of the Tour de Langkawi, Dean Downing said that he is hoping for a good end of race for the Great Britain team in the 2.HC ranked event.

"The plan tomorrow is simply to suffer up Genting," he smiled. "The day after is quite hard but the team is getting it together really good for the sprints, now. We have been getting riders in the top ten and leading out Rob Hayles in the final sprint, so things are going well. We will see what happens in the criterium on Sunday."

Downing and the GB riders will also do what they can to help Kristian House hold on to the King of the Mountains jersey, although today’s stage to the top of the Genting Highlands may prove too steep for the tall Englishman. Morale is growing on the team, however, not least because of Downing’s big move yesterday.

"Setting out this morning, I wanted to try to get involved in the race," he explained. "All of us were involved early on yesterday, getting into breaks in the first hour, and it was the same again today. I was lucky I got across to those two and the bunch were going steady. It (the breakaway) was probably doomed to failure but it was good to have a go, anyway.

"With fifty kilometres we had a good four minutes plus, and that is when we started really going. We were cruising before that, obviously going fast but saying to each other ‘let’s not go too hard and see what happens.’ Then when the fifty kilometres to go point came along, we started going really hard. But the peloton must have been really flying - they caught us with about fifteen kilometres to go.

"The German guy (David Kopp) was really strong. We were all working hard but he was taking long longer turns all the time. When he jumped, Sijmens and I went after him, but when he went a second time we just looked at each other and went ‘pffffhhhh’. There was nothing we could do."

Downing and Sijmens were reeled in by the peloton inside the final ten kilometres, while Kopp was recaptured by the main field with just four kilometres to go. However, although Downing’s big bid came to naught today, he and the rest of the team will try again before the end of the race in Kuala Lumpur this Sunday.

For Tour de Langkawi results, reports and photos, click here.

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