Russell beats rain and Lance Armstrong to title
Lars Petter Nordhaug (Joker Bianchi) won the tough final stage of the Tour of Ireland on Sunday and the Norwegian was followed over the line by birthday boy Russell Downing (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta).
The duo had broke clear from a charging chase group and Downing's second on the stage also secured him both the An Post points and the yellow jersey as the race winner overall.
It was a disappointing finale to the international race with atrocious weather seeing a lap taken off the final tough finishing circuit in Cork and 56 riders including Lance Armstrong abandoning before reaching the large crowd of spectators gathered on St Patrick’s Hill.
At Donaghedee yesterday Glenarm’s Conor McAllister won the North Down Grand Prix. An early break by Leo McAllister (Ballymena-Scott), Thomas Martin (Clann Eireann), Niall Shannon (Maryland) and Davy McKnight (Dromara CC) looked as if it would succeed when they gained a full minute on the bunch but they were joined by a six-man group after 40 miles.
Kieran McKenna (East Antrim), John Madden (Curran Racing) and McAllister (Ballymena-Scott) jumped clear in the final lap with McAllister winning the final sprint ahead of Madden and McKenna.
Lurgan’s Thomas Martin (Clann Eireann) finished fourth with Ronnie Smyth (Dromara CC) leading in the rest of the chasers ahead of Paul Ferguson (North Down), Liam Curran (Curran Racing) and Leo McAllister (Ballymena- Scott).