Downing in Poland tour

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Thurcroft pro cyclist Russ Downing starts the Polish tour Szlakiem Grodow Piastowskich today (Friday).

The 34-year-old and his NetApp-Endura team are in action in the Lower Silesia region, in afour stage tour.

The opening stage is a mountain section.

The second day is split into two half-stages, with a 32km time trial and a 96km afternoon stage.

The concluding stage on Sunday is another mountain stage over 162km.

NetApp-Endura’s Enrico Poitschke has high hopes for the team, and believes Downing could play a vital role in sprint finishes.

“This year we are starting with a strong team. Our expectations are correspondingly high,” he said.

“I think we can do well with Jan Barta and Alex Wtterhall in the time trial. With Michael Schwarzmann, Russell Downing, Ralf Matzka and Roger Kluge we are equally well prepared for the two possible sprint finishes.”

Downing tweeted this week on his excitement for the tour, with family links to the host nation: “(I’m) looking forward to it as my grandad was Polish.”