ALTHOUGH beaten by Dean Downing (Rapha-Condor RT) in a two-man sprint at the end of the opening 56-kilometre road stage, Ian Wilkinson (Science in Sport-Trek) is in yellow tonight after the first day of the Bikeline-Mersey Roads Club two-day race at Hope, Flintshire.

Downing (pictured) took the stage as he and Wilkinson crossed the line 11 seconds clear, but overall Wilkinson leads by seven seconds from Chris Newton (Recycling.co.uk), winner of the earlier individual time trial over a 1.6km course.

Alex Dowsett (100% ME) led in the chasers and is also in third place overall, a further 10 seconds behind Newton.

Against the clock, Tristan Barnes (Will?s Wheels CC) continued his impressive early-season form when he demolished the opposition ? and the course and event record ? in West Suffolk Wheelers? 21-mile TT over a sporting two-lap course at Risby today.

Barnes clocked 47-15 to beat former record holder Glenn Taylor (API Metrow) by a stunning 2-40 margin.