RUSSELL Downing?s future as a professional rider with the American Healthnet-Maxxis squad is in doubt after US officials refused him a visa and accused him of lying to try to get into the country.

The Yorkshire rider was questioned by immigration officials at Philadelphia for seven hours when he tried to return to America in April, and was then refused entry and forced to fly back to Britain.

A meeting was arranged at the US Embassy in London last week where Downing hoped to smooth things over, but he was told by staff that they considered he had lied about his application and could not re-apply for six months.

For more details, see this week?s Cycling Weekly magazine, out on Thursday.