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Great Britain’s Alex Dowsett finished in an encouraging eighth place in the elite men’s time-trial as he continued his comeback from a fractured elbow.
The 23-year-old British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider completed the 45.7km course from Heerlen to Valkenburg in just over an hour in a time of 1:01:04.82, placing him in second when he initially crossed the line.
Dowsett, the British time-trial champion, gradually fell back as the remaining riders completed the course with Germany’s Tony Martin defending his title in a convincing performance which saw him pass Vuelta a Espana winner Alberto Contador en route.
For Team Sky rider Dowsett, it is a positive conclusion to a road season which was heavily disrupted by a fractured elbow sustained whilst riding for the UCI World Tour team in the Three Days of De Panne in March.
With Olympic time-trial champion Bradley Wiggins and bronze medallist Chris Froome taking recovery time for Sunday’s road race, Dowsett was left as Great Britain’s sole representative for the day’s only event in the road world championships programme.
Differing weather conditions over the route made for a demanding environment for the riders – torrential rain in some parts with clear sunshine in others enough to test riders’ judgement with no shortage of technical sections.
Rolling down the start ramp - the twenty-eighth rider out - Dowsett went through the first intermediate time check at 14.3km in 20:04.78, negotiating the kilometre long Sint Remigiusstraat in the process – the first of three climbs.
It placed him eighth at the time but he was to grow stronger. By the 29.7km he was the fourth fastest on the course, but the two toughest climbs of the day lay ahead within the last eight kilometres – the Bundersberg and Cauberg.
He attacked the first - the 800m Bundersberg climb with a 5.4% average gradient – with confidence and by the time he reached it summit he was confirmed as the second fastest at that point, 50:53.17 with 38.4km completed.
Equally adept on the Cauberg, Dowsett drove over its crescent and towards the finish, his time of 1:01:04.82 the second best of the finishers. As Dowsett completed his run, defending Tony Martin was plotting his victory, eclipsing American Taylor Phinney to retain his title and going some way to putting the disappointment of missing out on Olympic gold to Bradley Wiggins behind him.
By the time Martin had crossed the line Dowsett had fallen to eighth. With last finisher Contador unable to better him the Great Britain rider’s final position was confirmed.
1 MARTIN Tony GER 58:38.76
2 PHINNEY Taylor USA 58:44.13 +5.37
3 KIRYIENKA Vasil BLR 1:00:23.75 +1:44.99
8 DOWSETT Alex GBR 1:01:04.82 +2:26.06