Proud home riders Downing and Barrass fuelled by local support

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Two of Yorkshire’s leading cyclists were full of praise for the support given to them by their home county on stage one of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire.

Rotherham’s Russ Downing, of the Cult Energy Pro Cycling team – who led the way for the White Rose county with a final placing of 16th – said: “The last climb was unbelievable, the noise up there was tremendous. I needed that as I was just off the back of the breakaway there and I just managed to catch a few of them there, so the crowd did well.

“It was tough all day, then there was that crash at the bottom of Grosmont which was really hard as there were people going backwards and forwards.

“As we came out of Whitby there were some tired legs and that is where the breakaway came but I didn’t quite make it.

“It was always going to be hard, and I didn’t know quite how hard it was going to be, but Saturday should be good.

“I am not sure that this was the toughest stage but I think a lot of people didn’t think it would be this tough as they knew Sunday was going to be tough.”

Keighley’s Tom Barras, also 36, came home 109th after the gruelling stage from Bridlington to Scarborough.

The NFTO rider said: “It was a very tough day. It went very well for the first two hours as we had our very young climber Eddie Dunbar in the break, which was the best possible outcome for us, but then unfortunately he crashed and I think he has broken his clavicle.

“For me it was a tough day, I have a bit of a sore throat and feel a bit rough so I was just glad to get it out of the way. Hopefully I will feel a bit better (today).

“Yorkshire has put on a fantastic show and I am here as a Yorkshire rider and it is a massive event for me.

“I am a proud Yorkshireman today, this is like doing three days of the Tour de France but doing it on our doorstep. I was born in Keighley so its like riding on my home road.

“ I wanted to be in that front group but I just missed it, but that’s bike racing, isn’t it?”