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Most open World Championships time trial in years, predicts Dowsett

Alex Dowsett (Great Britain)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Alex Dowsett believes that this year’s elite men’s time trial at the Road World Championships will be the most open in years with a star-studded line-up set to compete over the 54km course in Yorkshire on Wednesday.

The Katusha-Alpecin rider has been training on the course in the last few days and first previewed the route in spring.

He is targeting at least a top-ten performance but there is depth to the field with defending champion Rohan Dennis (Australia) set to compete against a host of strong time triallists, including the World Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts, European champion Remco Evenepoel, Luke Durbridge, Chad Haga, Kasper Asgreen, Tony Martin, Primož Roglič, and Bob Jungels.

Dowsett praised the organisers for creating a parcours that had elements included for every type of rider.

"It has everything," Dowsett said. "It's a really well-designed course. There are a couple of climbs but nothing that will separate the likes of Roglič from the rest of us.

"There are some long straights, some corners and one bump that could see you lift off. The run into Harrogate is a slog at times but I really like it. Point to point is interesting, and I just hope that the conditions don't change. This is good for me."

Dowsett comes into the event with his tail up after a top-five at the European Championships and a string of consistent rides since the Tour de France in July.

"The form is good. I've moved to altitude and I'm usually useless up there. So I come down to races having done terrible numbers in training and then do good numbers in racing.

"Everything I've done since the Tour I've been good at. The first two days at the Tour of Germany I was very good, and the first two days of the Tour of Britain I was very good. Hopefully, that bodes well for Wednesday."

At the European Championships, Dowsett's ride saw him finish less than a second off the podium. The performance demonstrated that he had come out of the Tour de France with his form intact and provided a welcome confidence boost. At the same time, Dowsett recognized that Evenepoel's wining ride put everyone else in the shade.

"That was very good," Dowsett said. "We were still all schooled by a kid that could still be in school but he's a revelation. I was 0.48 seconds off third and just two seconds off second. It was nice to be fully in the mix in a competitive event."

Evenepoel comes into the time trial with increasing levels of expectations. He has never raced a time trial of such length but his versatility and his growing victory tally over the last few months mean that he starts as a genuine contender for the podium.

"I think nobody really knows," Dowsett said. "That's the nature of Remco this year. I don't think he even knows. It will be very interesting to see how he goes. 54km is not 24km but he's won San Sebastian. He's won the Tour of Belgium.

"Take his age away and what pro cyclist has won the type of races he's won in the last two months. For me what's most incredible is the versatility of what he's winning."

When asked if Evenepoel was a favourite for the rainbow jersey, Dowsett replied: "One of, definitely, but this is one of the most open Worlds in years. Because of the course that opens itself up to all of us. You've got your big powerhouses like Stefan Küng. You've got your little guys like Remco [Evenepoel] and [Primož] Roglič and then you've got a load of us in the middle.

"No one really knows how Rohan [Dennis] is going to go. Same with Victor [Campenaerts]. We know they'll be preparing well but without the racing, you just don't know where they are at. It's very open. You've got guys like Vasil Kiryenka who won in Richmond when no one expected it. It's going to be exciting."

Dowsett is aware that a top-ten ride would give Great Britain improved options when it comes to places at the Tokyo Games but the goal on a personal level is simply to get the best out of his ride and on get caught up in predictions over where he could finish.

"Where do you want to finish? Everyone at the start should want to win. If you don't then you probably shouldn't be on the startline. If I finish top ten it would be a nice result but I'll be looking at the gap to ninth or third or first. You analyse it afterward.

"I want to have a good ride. I want to get everything out and I know I'll do that. It needs to all come together on the day."