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World Championships: Cummings and Dowsett to the rescue for Great Britain?

One of either Steve Cummings or Alex Dowsett must secure a top ten finish in the elite men’s time trial Wednesday if Great Britain is to secure two spots in the Rio Olympic time trial in 2016.

Cummings heads into the 53.5 km race on the back of Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana double having won a stage on the Tour and finished a highly credible 9th in the individual time trial at the Vuelta a Espana.

“We need someone to finish in the top ten in order for Britain to qualify for two places at the Olympics for next year,” Cummings told Cyclingnews, as he reiterated the importance of Wednesday’s race.

“I’m not saying that that’s my expectation but that’s something that I want to try and do. I’ve just finished the Vuelta and I’m feeling pretty tired but we’ll have to just see how I come up on the day. Hopefully I’ll ride well.”

The selection for Worlds was made less than a fortnight ago and Great Britain have already lost Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas to injury and fatigue. It has meant that the responsibility for Rio selection falls on Cummings and Dowsett. The Movistar rider set a then Hour Record earlier this year, while he picked up a bronze earlier this week in the team trial.

Neither riders are weak links against the clock, therefore, but Cummings admits that the Worlds time trial has not been a season-long objective for him. Yet, it is hard for a rider to resist the temptation of pulling on their national kit when the call comes through.

“This time trial hasn’t been an objective for me this year but having said that, it’s the World time trial championships so it’s always in the back of my mind. Saying that, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be selected, so it’s difficult because you come here and you’re perhaps not 100 per cent but I’m going to give 100 per cent of what I have.”

One rider that Cummings may mark his performance at Worlds against is Vasil Kiryienka. The pair both rode the Vuelta and the Team Sky rider finished nine seconds up on Cummings. Kiryienka is a consistent performer in World Championships, and won a medal back in Holland in 2012 and hasn’t been outside of the top four in the last three years.

“I’m sure that there are many people in the same boat after the Vuelta. I thought that the time trial at the Vuelta went well. I don’t know if the conditions changed but I went out at roughly the same time as Kiryienka and that gave me a good indication as he’s normally in and around the top five or ten at Worlds.”

“As for me and Alex, we’ve ridden the course twice. It’s without technical difficulty really. There are a few corners but it’s going to be down to pure horsepower and pacing strategy. Hopefully I’ve just got enough. I finished the Vuelta, I had Monday and Tuesday off. Then I did two hours of Wednesday, four hours on Thursday and then flew here on Friday. That was all without intensity and then on Tuesday I did a little bit of intensity, with around 10 minutes at race pace.”

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