Alex Dowsett vented his frustration at the commissaires, after a double puncture ended his shot at victory on stage 4 of the Tour of Britain. The Movistar rider criticised the race judges for lack of consistency when he was refused any assistance from his team car when trying to return to the breakaway.
"After a double puncture, I’m not saying that I should have been paced back onto the break but when you look at the number (of riders) that gets paced back onto the peloton, I couldn’t get any help whatsoever. It seems unfair, that there’s no consistency to it," he told Cyclingnews at the finish, still clearly annoyed by what had happened. "Let’s look at tomorrow and if anyone punctures tomorrow, are they going to get a tow off the team car? Of course they are, that’s what happens, what’s the difference with the breakaway."
After what was a very active start, Dowsett was the one who initiated the break. He spent several kilometres alone, before the other eight escapees made it over in two groups. The gap gradually built to more than five minutes, before the peloton got a rein on them. The puncture was a small road bump in his day, but with a new front wheel he was quickly on his way. That was until he realised that he had suffered a rear wheel puncture as well. The experience lost Dowsett more than a minute on his former escape companions.
"The team tried to help me, like any team would with one of their riders, like any team would with any riders. I think Kittel got paced back on by the GB team the other day. But, because I had a camera motorbike on me that had stopped to watch me take a piss when I decided to pack it in that was it, I couldn’t get anything. It’s me versus eight riders, when I’m trying to get back on with a minute’s deficit. That ended my day."
With the difference between the break making it to the finish and getting caught so fine, Dowsett believes – had it not been for the puncture – the presence of an extra man could have been the difference. He also fancied his chances against in the finale. "I think that, I’d been there it would have been one more rider’s power and I think it could have made a difference. They weren’t caught too far from the finish and the peloton were certainly panicking about it," explained Dowsett.
"I’ve been strong in every finish in every stage, I think that I was top 30 today, even after all my efforts I had to put out. I think I could have been there or thereabouts at the finish."
Despite the disappointment, Dowsett still believes he can take home a victory before the race comes to a close on Sunday. "I’ll try again tomorrow and then I think the TT will be good to me," he says determinedly. "It’s more or less the same course I won on in 2011. I think we’ve got some tough opposition in Wiggins and Kwiatkowski, but I’ll give it a good go.
"I don’t want to lose where I’ve got in GC (22nd at 1:25), just in case something happens. If I can get myself into the top 10 then I’ll be quite happy with that, but if there is a sniff of a stage win somewhere then that will take priority."