Commonwealth Games: Tour de France disappointment spurs on Dowsett

After missing out on the Tour de France through illness Alex Dowsett (England) is hoping to kick start his season at the Commonwealth Games. A silver medallist in Delhi four years ago, Dowsett will race in both Thursday's time trial and Sunday’s road race before returning to his duties at Movistar, and with his contract up for renewal he is looking to finish the season with a flourish.

"I won't be happy if I'm not on the top step of the podium in the time trial. I could find myself seventh, I could find myself first, it's going to be tight at the top but it would be a career highlight for me if I was to win gold," he told the press in Glasgow.

Dowsett, 25, was set to ride this year's Tour de France and with the start in the United Kingdom he focused his energies on making Movistar's elite nine-man selection. However he missed the cut, picking up an illness at the Tour de Suisse that ruled him out of supporting team leader Alejandro Valverde.

"I picked up a sore throat at the Tour de Suisse and took the gamble to race on through it in the hope that it would subside. It went to my chest though and turned into bronchitis. I was fine when the Tour started, but in the week before, when the selection was made I definitely wasn't. It was tough for me but I respected the team decision and I probably would have made the same one if I'd been the team manager."

That disappointment has spurred on the British time trial champion who comes into the Games as one of England's most seasoned international campaigners. While the Tour whistled through Yorkshire, London and then to more familiar territory in France, Dowsett remained in the United Kingdom to recharge his batteries and train for the Games.

"Missing the Tour sure as hell made me angry and usually when I'm angry I pull out something good and hopefully that will happen here. I've been training really hard since. The numbers have been good and I'm confident that I can do a good ride on Thursday," he said.

"I'll go as fast as I can but what you can't control is how everyone else goes. I've looked at the course and it's good for me. There's a bit of everything with some technical sections, long straight power sections and some climbs. It's going to suit an all round time triallist but it plays to my strengths."

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There is added pressure on Dowsett, both at the Games and for the rest of the season with his current two-year deal at Movistar up for renewal. When the Essex- born rider signed for the Spanish team from Team Sky ,the signing raised some eyebrows, but any doubts in the typically untraveled path for an English rider to take were firmly dismissed when he won a stage in the Giro d'Italia. This season has seen Dowsett ride consistently but along with his Tour disappointment he has taken just one win.

"Last year I was really bad and then brilliant in the Giro and that made my whole season. This year I've been consistently up there in the time trials, I've consistently done a good job for the team and my climbing has improved. I snuck in a little win at Circuit Cycliste Sarthe too. Obviously the main aim this year was the Tour de France and that didn't happen and it put a downer on the season but I'm determined to turn it around in the latter part of the season."

As for his future at Movistar, Dowsett is currently unsure.

"I'm up for contract this year and I'm just leaving it to my manager to sort out. I'm happy at Movistar but I'm not afraid to explore other avenues as well. We'll see what happens. I want to prove my worth before I commit to anything."

During his two years with Spain's premier team he has looked to immerse himself in the culture and tried to break down the language barrier.

"My Spanish is getting there. I'm quite good when it comes to the cycling side of Spanish. When they start talking about women, cars and politics then I start to lose it a bit, but I can sit in a team meeting and know what the plan is and I can tell them when I need something done. Movistar is really cool environment, relaxed and chilled out but we take it seriously when it's time."

"Movistar have delivered on everything they said they would. Year one was the Giro, year two was the Tour de France and that was all looking 100 per cent until I got ill. They delivered for me and I feel very well supported there. I wish I'd been able to deliver a little bit more for them this year but there's still time."

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.