UCI Road World Championships
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Great Britain’s Alex Dowsett is looking forward to testing himself against the world's best in the elite men’s time-trial at the road world championships.
The 23-year-old Team Sky rider also earmarked defending world champion Tony Martin as the favourite for victory on Wednesday over the 47.5km course in Limburg, Netherlands.
Dowsett, British time-trial champion, has already competed in Limburg with Team Sky in the team time-trial on Sunday, finishing ninth. In Wednesday’s individual event, he will be in the colours of Great Britain having missed the 2011 championships.
After a challenging season, in which he has suffered a fractured elbow, he is now enjoying his return to competition but anticipates Germany’s Martin to set the benchmark.
“The team time-trial was something I was very excited to be part of, the first running event in this format ever so it was nice to be a part of that, it was quite an experience,” Dowsett said. “It’s a shame Geraint [Thomas] had his mechanical and we lost Sergio early on otherwise I think it could have been a different result.
"I’ve done a good amount of work for this race so whilst this whole season hasn’t been ideal I don’t think I’ll be far off the mark."
“It was good, in terms of preparation - it won’t do me any harm. I went out on the bike yesterday, I felt pretty good. In terms of effort it’s more than I would have done normally but I’ve done some of my best rides off the back of what I think is not ideal preparation so I try not to think about it. We’ll see what happens on Wednesday.
“I think it is Tony Martin’s race to lose for sure. Looking at the way he went in the team time-trial he looks really strong. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins then there is a significant gap to second place. I think he is in really good shape.”
Dowsett, part of the British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme, fractured his elbow during the Three Days of De Panne in March. The injury scuppered his chances of an Olympic place and his comeback was delayed after he suffered an infection following surgery on the break.
The disturbance in his second season with Team Sky means Dowsett is unsure of his exact condition going into the event. In spite of that, he is encouraged by a course which suits him and includes Cauberg Hill as the last of three climbs which riders will encounter.
“It’s difficult to know [my condition] as I’ve done such different races this year. Last year I did the Tour of Britain, this year I did the two single days in Canada. It’s difficult to get a gauge of where I am,” Dowsett admitted.
“I know when I’m good, I’m pretty good but because of all the training I missed and the base fitness I would have lost when I have a bad day, it’s pretty terrible. I’ve done a good amount of work for this race so whilst this whole season hasn’t been ideal I don’t think I’ll be far off the mark.
“I think the course will suit me. It’s going to be down to quite a lot of power output. I think I went up the climbs a lot better than I expected in the team time-trial. I think I can ride them quite well, it’s a little bit technical as well and I go round corners all right. What wouldn’t suit me is if there was a four kilometre climb so I’m happy with the course.”
Having watched Great Britain’s success on both the road and track at the London Olympics, Dowsett has the Rio Games as part of his long-term goals but admits it is unlikely he would consider switching to the track, instead focusing on time-trial and road race spots. In the short-term a Grand Tour ride with Team Sky is a target.
“I just want to start winning a few more time-trials consistently and really move on as a bike rider and hopefully get a ride in a Grand Tour next season,” Dowsett said.
“The track does appeal but I’ve always been better on the road than the track. I’m just a great believer in sticking to your strengths. I’ve got my eye on Rio and hopefully it will be in the time-trial and the road race.”