What's Cool In Road Cycling

Dean Downing Gets A PEZzing

A lot has changed since we last talked to 32 year-old English pro, Dean Downing back in August; for one thing, he’s a married man and for another, his Rapha/Condor team has joined forces with English ‘stalwart’ squad, Recycling to form a ‘super-team’ – “Rapha Condor Recycling,” with former Worlds points race champion, Chris Newton as ‘head honcho.’

PEZ: Big changes, Dean?
Dean: Yeah, I got married at the beginning of October and the amalgamation of the two teams came-about around the same time.

PEZ: Were you happy with 2007?
Dean: Extremely, I didn’t know what to expect when I came back to the UK, I suppose I had to prove a point after coming back from Europe, but I surprised even myself, especially with my win at the Lincoln Grand Prix.

PEZ: Tell us about the ‘merger.’
Dean: Rapha organised a party at the Tour prologue in London; John Herety (Recycling manager and former Mercier professional and British pro champion) and Charlie Jackson (Recycling owner) got to chatting with Dominique Gabellini, our sponsor.

Dominique said that he was looking to take it bigger in 2008, John was happy to give advice and one thing just led to another.

Dean and Chaz have a go at each other.

PEZ: You’re recently back from training with Liquigas?
Dean: I have a friend, Jon Canning who has a leisure complex out in Spain, so I went over to do some training; as it transpired, Liquigas were training in the area.

Charly Wegelius (English Liquigas pro, who is always happy to talk to PEZ) and I go back a long way; we raced together as juniors back in 1995 and he invited me to go on their runs – it was a real privilege.

It was their first camp, so they were pretty relaxed – the team was divided into two squads, Classics and Giro, I was with Charly in the Giro group; we were doing three or four hours per day for three days on the trot, then having an easy day.

It was around 32 kph average, there was a good atmosphere with the guys and the weather was nice, around 14 degrees.

PEZ: What are the new team’s goals for 2008?
Dean: I’m not totally sure, John (Herety) hasn’t filled us in on that, but obviously Chris Newton’s Olympic ambitions will be a priority (Newton won silver in the points race at the recent Beijing World Cup).

Kristian House is joining us, he was with Navigators last season, but they folded; so are Dale Appleby and Robert Partridge – they’re both up-and-coming riders.

We have pre-European season single day races in South Africa and there’s talk of us going to Langkawi, too.

The UK Premier Calendar (Elite road race series) will obviously be a priority with the main sponsors all being English.

Kristian House

PEZ: Personal goals?
Dean: I had a disappointing end to the 2007 season with crashes, so I’m keen to get results; hopefully we’ll be riding minor stage races in France and stage wins in those will definitely be a target.

But I’m also looking forward to riding as part of strong team, looking-after Chris (Newton) and the new guys.

The UK scene is booming just now, so I think it’s going to be a good season.

Chris Newton

PEZ: Is it Condor bikes again? The Recyclings were on Pinarellos, weren’t they?
Dean: Yes, it’s Condor – Leggeros, they are really nice and we’re getting full support from Shimano this year, Dura Ace groupsets and Shimano shoes too.

Helmets are by Giro, Rapha clothing obviously, so the equipment-side looks great.

PEZ: Do you look at the British Cycling Academy and think; ‘I wish they’d had that in my day!’
Dean: When I was 18, back in 1993, I was riding the Peter Buckleys (season-long road race series for juniors) and I was trying to balance my studies with training, there weren’t a lot of funds around back-then; the World Class Performance Plan didn’t come along until ’95 or ’96.

It’s fantastic for the young riders these days; they have good people like Shane Sutton (former Milk Race winner) on the management team at British Cycling.

I think that maybe some of them don’t realise how lucky they are, but that said if they are on the programme, they have to put the work in.

Don’t worry though, I’m not going to give you any of that; “when I were a lad” stuff – I’m still enjoying the sport and am quite happy with the life I’ve created for myself in cycling.

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.