Great Britain’s Alex Dowsett bettered his own expectations with eighth place in the elite men’s time trial at the world championships in Valkenburg.
The Team Sky rider was the only competitor from Great Britain to take part after Chris Froome dropped out earlier in the week. Dowsett had talked about a top ten place before the 45.7-kilometre test but went to better that, finishing one place ahead of Alberto Contador and 2:26 behind winner Tony Martin of Germany.
“I said top ten because I thought that was what was expected of me but realistically I thought I was going to get hung, drawn and quartered,” he told Cyclingnews.
Dowsett set off with a different strategy compared to his "all guns blazing" approach to normal time trials. The 23-year-old sat down with his coaches, including Team Sky’s Bobby Julich, and devised a race plan based around the rolling Limburg course.
“I paced it really well,” Dowsett added.
“That was key, just good pacing. I was strong and my power figures were as good at the finish as they were at the start. That’s actually the first time I’ve ridden to power rather than speed, mainly because of the profile of the course. We sat down and talked about the course and how to ride. You can’t just hit the climbs full gas. I’m notorious for hitting the climbs at 600 watts and then doing 300 at the top so I just settled into a the rhythm and was able to pick up speed going over the top.”
Dowsett will line up in the road with defending champion Mark Cavendish on Sunday.