Generally regarded as one of the most unpredictable races on the calendar, the Tour of Britain starts with no outstanding favourites for the yellow jersey, but with lots of riders quietly nursing hopes of capturing it. Among them is Movistar’s Alex Dowsett, who led for two days last year before “messing up” on the penultimate day into Brighton to eventually finish eighth overall.
“The thing with the Tour of Britain is that because it is so unpredictable you have to come in with very loose plans, but with a willingness to attack, so I think that’s going to be our aim for the week,” Dowsett said at the eve-of-race presentation in Colwyn Bay.
“We don’t have a standout leader. We have [Juanjo] Lobato, who is good in the hard sprints. But otherwise we’re a very well rounded team, so I think we’ll all be looking for opportunities.”
The Englishman hopes some of those opportunities will fall his way, especially as he’s finding the form to take advantage of them after the disappointment of abandoning the Tour de France and the Tour of Poland.
“I think I’m in fairly good shape. At the Tour and then in Poland everything was going from bad to worse. But over the last couple of weeks I’ve really concentrated on my training and I seem to be putting out some good numbers again, so hopefully that will translate to results this week,” he said.
He also believes that the highs and lows he experienced in the race 12 months ago will serve him in good stead over the next eight days. “I did mess up last year,” Dowsett acknowledged.
“I’m not used to being in the yellow jersey. I didn’t eat enough the afternoon of that yellow jersey day and I knew when I started the Brighton stage that I wasn’t in the best place. I just felt empty. I’ve learned a lot. But are they going to let me go again? I’m not sure. We’ll just have to see what happens.”
Whatever does take place in the coming week, Dowsett admits it’s good to be back racing at home again. “It’s always nice to be looking ahead to racing on your home roads, especially in such a good event as this one. The one thing that Movistar riders always take away from the Tour of Britain is how big the crowds are and how well organised it all is,” he said, although admitting that they are occasionally not quite so keen on the weather.