Downey taken out by official race car at Tro Bro Leon in France

Posted on: April 23rd, 2019
Irish rider Mark Downey of EvoPro Racing finishes Tro Bro Leon in Brittany yesterday despite plenty of problems along the way (Photo: Kim Caritoux)

Irish rider Mark Downey had an eventful day at Tro Bro Leon yesterday when one of the race’s cars ran into him.

The driver of the vehicle clearly didn’t see Downey and the Irish rider paid the price; being knocked off and sustaining cuts and abrasions to his hip.

However, despite suffering a puncture when riding well in the race and then suffering the crash after getting back on, he still finished.

Cormac Mcgeough nice and fresh looking before the race hit the off-road sections and then racing through the dust rising from the dirt road (Photos: Kim Caritoux)

“I was in the front split with around 50 to 60km to go and then blew my back wheel,” Mark Downey said of his first mishap.

“I chased for 35km then and I was in the cars on an off road section when a race official pulled out in front of me.

“I’d no other choice but to bin it,” he said of coming off the bike. “But I got up and I got home eventually.”

The 205km event is Brittany’s answer to Paris-Roubaix, with 26 sections of gravel and otherwise unpaved tracks.

Those off-tarmac sections are referred to in the region as ‘ribinoù’ which means anything other than paved roads; including gravel, cobbles, dirt roads and farm tracks.

Andrea Vendrame wins in a sprint from a small group at the end of five hours of racing.

The race, which starts in Plouguerneau and finishes in Lannilis, was won by Andrea Vendrame (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) after five hours in the saddle.

Belgian Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie Bruxelles) looked like he had it sewn up in the sprint from a 12-man group only for Vendrame to shoot past. Emil Nygaard Vinjebo (Riwal Readynez) was 3rd.

Downey, despite his problems, was a very decent 66th at 6:20 and it is a race he might do well to consider riding again.

He was in a group 6:20 down while fellow Irishman and EvoPro Racing team mate Cormac Mcgeough was 70th at 8:03. Aaron Kearney also started the race for EvoPro Racing but was a non-finisher.

Downey keeps plugging away after his puncture (Photo with thanks to David McCann)