Downing close to securing ProTour contract

Russell Downing (CandiTV) wins Tour of Ireland's opening stage and takes race lead Friday in Waterford

Russell Downing (CandiTV) wins Tour of Ireland's opening stage and takes race lead Friday in Waterford (Image credit: Stephen McMahon)

Britain's Russell Downing is close to securing a contract with a ProTour team for 2010. Downing's manager, Phil Griffiths, told Cyclingnews on Tuesday that the 31-year-old was weighing up several offers before making a decision on where he will ride in 2010.

While he would not be drawn on the names of teams involved, Griffiths confirmed that the Tour of Ireland winner had received offers from ProTour squads. "We've got a few offers on the table and basically, we've just got to make a decision," he said.

Last month, Griffiths had been hopeful that Downing's performance in Ireland, where he won a stage and the general classification, would attract the attention of the ProTour teams present at the race. At the same time he indicated that Downing himself had hoped for a place on the roster of the British Team Sky, but that the priority was to find a spot on a major team.

With the forthcoming offers now under consideration, a decision on Downing's future could be made as soon as this Saturday. "We'd like to decide before the Tour of Britain," said Griffiths. "That's what we originally said, because we didn't want to miss out, [as teams confirm their 2010 rosters,] and it's getting late."

Downing will line-up at the Tour of Britain for what could be one of his final races with the British Continental squad, CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta. He will start the race in Scunthorpe on Saturday, alongside teammates Dale Appelby, Graham Briggs, Malcolm Elliot, James Sampson and Peter Williams.

Downing has raced the Tour of Britain twice (2006, 2008), although he has yet to win a stage of his home tour.

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