Fastest at the mid-way checkpoint, and second at the finish in the Giro d'Italia stage 2 team time trial, Alex Dowsett says that he believes his Movistar squad's performance was in no way above-expectations, rather that "it's time people recognised we're good at these."
Although Spain traditionally has not produced top squads for TTTs, Movistar won the technically difficult, if much flatter, opening team time trial in last year's Vuelta a España, and riders like Nairo Quintana have won races like the Vuelta al Pais Vasco this year as a result of their time trialling. Former British TT champ Dowsett, racing his first Giro, says yesterday's result was no fluke, either.
"It suited us down to the ground, for sure, but I'm not sure we're counted as a surprise given the results we've had this year," Dowsett told Cyclingnews at the stage three start.
"I think it's time we're considered one of the front runners in stages like these particularly when they're like yesterday's."
Movistar could have been even closer had not 2011 Vuelta winner Juan Jose Cobo, no slouch against the clock, hurt his knee during the team time trial warm-up in a crash. Cobo dropped back early on, meaning the Spanish squad lost one of their key men. It also meant a big change of plan, Dowsett said.
"I would have done my last turn on the flatter stretch of road before the last climb, and hung on, but if I hadn't it wouldn't have mattered, and if Cobo had been there then he would have been the man for the last climb. As it was, I was in quite a lot of difficulty on that last climb.
"It was annoying, too, because I had two punctures on the recce and didn't get as good a look as I wanted. But it was good, the boys rode fantastically well, and even if I'm not leading the Best Young Rider's classification, I'm getting to wear it [as Puccio leads overall] which is nice, too."
Could Movistar be looking at grabbing the pink jersey from Sky? On paper they are the best placed squad to do that.
"That's true and it's just nine seconds but those are the hardest nine seconds in the world to get back," Dowsett said. On paper, he certainly rules himself out of any such bid. "My job is to look after Beñat Intxausti, who's our GC man, and that means that if he has a problem on the last descent to the finish, he'll be taking my bike."
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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