Alex Dowsett (Movistar) looks set to make his grand tour debut later this year at the Giro d'Italia. The British time trial specialist crashed out of yesterday's Dwars Door Vlaanderen and despite taking a knock to one of his knees, will look to race this weekend's Gent-Wevelgem before competing in both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Dowsett moved to Movistar at the start of 2013 after two years at Team Sky. The signing caught many by surprise given Sky's understandable desire to sign British riders. However Dowsett often found himself on the fringes of the team as they focused primarily on the Grand Tours, and while injuries certainly were a factor, when Movistar offered him a more substantial race programme Dowsett jumped at the opportunity.
"It's really good, really good. I'm here at these big races and that was the main reason for the move. I got through Tirreno-Adriatico okay. I'm not going to lie: I was pretty foddered after it but I came around in the last couple of days and did the time trial. The form is about where it should be," Dowsett told Cyclingnews.
The transition from the comfort and conformity at Sky to the more relaxed Spanish vibe at Movistar has been Dowsett's biggest challenge. Moving to a team as the only English-speaking rider has been a tough transition, especially as Dowsett is the first British rider to join the predominately Spanish team since Jeremy Hunt in the mid 1990s.
"That's the most difficult bit for sure. It can get a bit lonely at the dinner table sometimes but I am learning and I'm getting there. Everything gets translated for me afterwards so that I can understand what I need but it's a really nice bunch of guys and it's very much like a big family atmosphere. Sky was a team that was a lot more regimented but here it's a bit more relaxed."
However Dowsett appears to be fitting in with his new surroundings and currently has the Giro d'Italia on his race schedule. With a team time trial on stage 2 from Ischia to Forio he'll be able to showcase his skills against the clock on one of the biggest stages in world cycling.
"We're doing a team time trial training camp and then I'll go to Flanders and Roubaix. After that I'll do Castilla y Leon and then the Giro. It looks like I'm doing the Giro as long things keep going well. Nothing is ever certain though."