Video: Downey in the mix after “savage” five hours in rain

Posted on: June 7th, 2019
Mark Downey is now in contention at Mark Downey in contention at Boucles de la Mayenne, though he wasn’t sprinting for victory on today’s stage 1

Mark Downey may not have been sprinting for victory in Boucles de la Mayenne in France today but he has put himself in contention overall.

The near five-hour opening road stage – some 183km from Renault Saint-Berthevin to Changé – was marked by constant rain.

And though the climbs were not huge on the course, the wet and crosswinds combined with the speed to split the race to pieces.

Mauricio Moreira (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) won the stage in a sprint from a breakaway, relegating Julien Duval (AG2R La Mondiale) to 2nd place.

Downey’s EvoPro Racing team mate Wouter Wippert was next, taking 3rd place just four seconds later having bridged to the breakaway with 40km to go.

Over the next 15 seconds four more riders finished in ones, with a group of 25 then sprinting for 8th place some 40 seconds behind the winner.

Downey was in that group with another EvoPro Racing rider, Harry Sweeney. The rest of the field was scattered over 20 minutes back the road.

“It was the coldest day I’ve ever had on the bike; lashed rain for five hours,” Downey said when asked to summarise how it had gone.

Mauricio Moreira (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) wins the stage from Julien Duval (AG2R La Mondiale) at the end of a very wet and hard stage
It was one of those days in France; the rain came down in buckets
The breakaway powers on in the crosswind on the opening road stage

Mark Downey continued: “The race split to bits with around 50km to go. I got dropped because I couldn’t put it into the big ring when we hit the crosswinds.

“I then got back on and rode through a few groups; it was an absolute savage day.”

“I was happy for Wippert getting up for 3rd in what is a high level race. I’m sitting nicely overall and I’ll will give it a punt tomorrow and see what happens.”

The stage result, following yesterday’s prologue TT, saw Duval take the race lead from his WorldTour team mate Dorian Godon.

Frenchman Godon had won yesterday’s opening test to take the race lead and finished in 13th today, in the same group as Downey.

Mark Downey is now 19th overall, some 42 seconds off race leader Duval.

The Irishman is also 3rd in the young rider classification; some 18 seconds off Godon. Damien Touze (Cofidis) is 2nd in that competition.

EvoPro Racing’s other Irish riders – Daire Feeley, Aaron Kearney and Matt Teggart – are also in action in France.

Feeley was 39th, in a group one minute behind Downey’s and the yellow jersey.

Teggart, who is coming back from a long injury lay-off, was 61st at 5:22. Kearney was 76th at 10:08.