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The Emperor of Thurcroft’s New Clothes


Russell Downing 2019 is a one-man team, Giordana Racing, training and racing in Giordana and Rudy Project kit. He reckons it’s cracking stuff, too.

Photos: Andy Jones.


“It’s the best stuff I’ve ever ridden in, it’s certainly come on a long way since I last rode in Giordana stuff ten years ago. I felt the difference straightaway. In my opinion it’s as good as Assos now.”

Downing sorted his 2019 sponsorship deal with Giordana and Rudy Project importer, Yellow Ltd just after Christmas, so a chilly early January was perfect for trying out his new winter wardrobe. Our photographer Andy Jones met up with Downing to take some snaps on a training ride in the Peak District. This is what Downing told me about what he was wearing.

Image of Russell Downing

“All the clothing I wear now is Giordana, with helmets and glasses from Rudy Project. In this first photo I’m wearing the AV-100 winter jacket. Giordana winter jackets come in different weights, and this one is quite a light one. It works as a rain jacket too, you can put it in your pocket. I always take some sort of shell jacket in my back pocket. You never know when the weather might change, or when you might be stood for a bit.

“The helmet is the Rudy Project Styrm. It’s nice and light, with lots of vents. It fits well too, it’s easily adjusted, and it feels secure as soon as you put it on. I always wear a skull cap under a helmet in winter. I like to have my ears covered.

Image of Russell Downing

“The Burgundy top is the FR-C Pro Winter. It’s a full-on winter jacket. I only wear two layers in the winter now. I put a long-sleeved base layer on, then I vary the thickness of the top layer according to how cold it is, or if it’s raining. I put a light rain jacket in my back pocket, and that’s it. Giordana’s Monsoon is a great rain jacket, it’s made from breathable e-Vent fabric and has taped seams. It’s water proof and breathable.

“The bib-tights are the AV model. They are really comfortable, like a second skin, and the surface of the lower leg is all reflective material. My gloves are the AV-200, which are all you need in winter if you are pressing on a bit. If I was pootling in the cold on an easy day, I’d wear the AV-300. My overshoes are Tenax Pro.

Downing’s first race for his new team was the Eddie Soens Memorial at Aintree racecourse. He was in the thick of the action all race, crashing and chasing back to finish fifth at the end. Andy Jones was there again to catch his kit.

Image of Russell Downing

“I started with a short sleeved light Gabba type of top, but made by Giordana, over my race kit, but took it off once I got warmer. My jersey is the FC-R pro, it’s just the same as the ones Mitchelton-Scott and Astana race in. I’ve got Giordana pro bib-shorts on, and Dryarm arm and knitted leg warmers, which are really light and comfortable. Those arm and leg warmers are okay for training when it’s cool and even quite warm. I kept wearing them in Spain recently when others stopped to take theirs off.

Image of Russell Downing

“My helmet is the Rudy Project Aero Boost Pro. It’s got a bit of ventilation and is comfortable. The glasses are Rudy Project’s latest, the Defender Graphene. I’m wearing knitted Cordura gloves, and I’ve got ‘Toe-sters’ on under my overshoes. That’s a top tip for the winter is that; wear light socks but put ‘Toe-sters’ over the front of your shoes before you put your overshoes on. It’s how to keep your feet warm but still be really comfortable.

To find your local Giordana or Rudy Project store call 01785 811810

Image of Russell Downing

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