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Russell Downing: I’m not ready to retire

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Former British champion Russell Downing (Cult Energy)

Former British champion Russell Downing (Cult Energy) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Russell Downing and David Millar

Russell Downing and David Millar (Image credit: SWpix.com)
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Russell Downing (NetApp-Endura) was most combative during stage 2

Russell Downing (NetApp-Endura) was most combative during stage 2 (Image credit: ASO)

There may be a level of uncertainly over the future of his team but Russell Downing (Cult Energy) isn’t ready to hang up his wheels just yet.

The 36-year-old British pro is out of contract this season and speculation surrounds the future of the Cult Energy team, who could fold in a matter of weeks if they fail to secure additional sponsorship.

That hasn’t affected Downing who, with a career spanning three decades, has been in a similar situation on a number of occasions.

“I’d like to stay at this level and I’m enjoying racing on the continent again. I’ve had a few good placings this year and I’ve done work for others. It’s a great mixed team and fingers crossed. I’m not ready to retire yet,” Downing told Cyclingnews.

The former Team Sky rider is currently competing at the Arctic Race of Norway, a race he took part in two years ago when at NetApp-Endura. The speculation surrounding his current team’s future has not been distraction, he told Cyclingnews, with racing his first priority.

“It’s only what you see in the press but everyone in the background staff is trying to pull it together and keep it on the road for next year. That would be great if we could keep everyone together an in contracts because it’s a really nice time and everyone seems really happy.

“I don’t have a plan B at the moment for next year because I’m putting my faith in the team to pull it all together. We want to continue riding as a group so we’ll give it another few weeks. We’ve got a really good race programme for the next few weeks and that’s where my concentration is focused. I’m not really wasting energy on the other stuff.”

“Probably for normal riders it’s quite hard but it happens year-in-year-out for me. I’ve been in similar positions before with teams disbanding and that’s part and parcel of being a sportsman really. There’s not been many times where I’ve signed two year deal. It’s a bit similar to the Linda McCartney team situation but like I said, everyone really wants to continue.”

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Daniel Benson

 Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.