Alex Dowsett (Team Movistar) is set to make his Grand Tour debut on Saturday when he starts the 2013 Giro d’Italia in Naples.
The 24-year-old Briton is aware of the daunting prospect of competing in one of the hardest races in the calendar but has set himself a number of challenges, with the ultimate goal of completing the race.
“It’s just 21 days of racing. I’ve tried to avoid looking at the route though to be honest. That’s purely because I know it’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve been working hard and I’ll take it day by day. Tirreno-Adriatico gave me a lot of confidence but riding for those second and third weeks, that’s an unknown experience for me. It’s mad to think that it takes up almost all of May. I’m having to write off May from my social calendar for the year and it’s something I’ve never done before,” he told Cyclingnews from his home in Essex.
Dowsett has enjoyed a varied racing calendar this year competing in a number of the Belgian spring Classics while also riding Tirreno-Adriatico. He and his Movistar teammates also managed to fit in a team time trial training camp in Spain.
“The camp went well,” Dowsett said. “We rode around with cars and radios in two groups and it was solid. I didn’t understand anything that was coming down the radio but I never heard my name mentioned so I must have been doing things roughly right.”
The team time trial in this year’s Giro d'Italia on the island of Ischia will mark Dowsett’s first major test of the race. As the British national time trial champion and one of the more accomplished riders against the clock in the Movistar team, he will be charged with leading the likes of Jose Cobo towards a respectable time.
“After what we did in Tirreno, I think we can do well there and I’ll be giving it my all. Then there’s the individual time trials and there’s not going to be too many guys at the race motivated for a 50km time trial. I think I’ll be better prepared than most for it. If it’s asked of me I’ll go in breaks but it’s also about getting through the race.”
Dowsett’s debut season with Movistar is somewhat of a contrast to his two years with Team Sky. With so many big-hitters in the British team Dowsett was often riding on the fringes and his move to Spain was partly due to a desire to ride more high profile races.
"Team Sky aren't carrying anyone in their Giro team and everyone is there for a reason. I think it’s just Puccio who will be riding his first Giro. It’s definitely outlined to me that I made the right decision in moving," he said.