Alex Dowsett (Movistar) is hoping to ride himself back into top form at the Tour of Britain as he fights for a position in the British World Championships squad. After some of his performances this season, including his fourth national time trial title, he would seem like the odds-on favourite for one of the two time trial spots.
However, he suffered a major setback last month when he fell ill - added to his abandon at the Tour de France - and a spot on the team is not yet assured. "No selection has been made so I'm not even sure I'll be going to it in the end but I'm going to try and do the best I can for the rest of this race," Dowsett said after the second stage of the Tour of Britain.
"The Tour crash didn't knock me back a great deal, what knocked me back was the stomach bug in Poland. I went four kilos down in weight and I had nothing. I went out on my local ride and I selected to go with the slower group and I was getting dropped. I was really in a bad place and it took a little while to get back. I was doing some practice tens and I was struggling to do what I know I can. Poitou-Charentes was an improvement and hopefully this will move me on a little bit as well."
Despite not being where he'd like to be at this point in the season, Dowsett tried his hand at a break and decided to jump across the four-minute gap to the lone escapee Pete Williams (One Pro Cycling). He admitted afterwards that he had perhaps been a little ‘over enthusiastic' and with 70 kilometres still to go he sat up and resumed his position in the bunch. His efforts came at a price and when the bunch broke up on Bleara Moor, he found himself in the second group on the road and ended up rolling home in the gruppetto at 21 minutes down.
"I didn't give the parcours the credit it deserved today. I went across because it was Pete on his own and I thought that I had a good chance of getting across. The legs felt good and I got across but I was struggling a bit when I got there," said Dowsett. "Normally that sort of move shouldn't work but it's the Tour of Britain and sometimes the stuff that shouldn't work does work. Tactically it wasn't my most astute decision to go across there. I kind of cooked myself. I don't know whether I would have finished in the front anyway but I was on the back foot a bit after that."
Dowsett lost time during early on during last year's race before moving into yellow after a dramatic stage six but the mountain to climb is much larger than the 1:25 he had to overcome on that particular day.
"I'm not going to ride myself back into yellow now that I'm 21 minutes down, that's for sure," Dowsett joked wryly. "We'll have a sit down and see what we're going to do team wise. Obviously (Juan Jose) Lobato is going well so we might go with him. I don't think that it'll be much harder than it is today."