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"I have a rough programme and it's with the aim of riding the Tour de France. It will be the typical build up with races like the Dauphine. I've just got to go out there and prove that I'm worthy enough of a place in t...

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ALEX DOWSETT

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06.12.2013 @ 17:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alex Dowsett had a decent first year with Movistar, with the highlight being his time trial win over Bradley Wiggins in the Giro d'Italia. Now the Brit has set his sights on an even bigger race as he wants to prove himself worthy of a spot on the Movistar Tour de France roster.

 

Alex Dowsett surprised the entire cycling world when the talented British time trialist left the big British Team Sky to sign a contract with Movistar. Known as a team of climbers with little history of signing English-speaking riders, it was a brave move for the young Brit to deviate from the obvious path that had been laid out for him.

 

However, Dowsett found it difficult to get his own chances on the British super team where he was often kept away from the biggest races. To get more experience, he thought a change was needed and he made the surprising decision to sign with the major Spanish team.

 

Dowsett earned selection for the Giro d'Italia where he proved his worth. In the stage 2 team time trial, he was one of the driving forces on the team that finished 2nd behind his former Sky teammates. One week later he beat his former captain Bradley Wiggins in the first long time trial that the 2012 Tour de France winner had been almost destined to win.

 

The rest of his season was more anonymous as he mostly rode as a loyal domestique. He had hoped to shine towards the end of the season in the Tour of Britain and the World Time Trial Championships but illness hampered his chances at those events.

 

With a grand tour now under his belt, Dowsett has proved that he is a valuable asset when it comes to supporting a GC rider. Next year the Tour de France starts in his native England and this has prompted him to target selection for the biggest race in the world.

 

"I have a rough programme and it's with the aim of riding the Tour de France," he said. "It will be the typical build up with races like the Dauphine. I've just got to go out there and prove that I'm worthy enough of a place in the team’s Tour squad. That’s my one and only goal and then there's the Commonwealth Games off the back of that as well." 

 

Traditionally Movistar is one of the major GC teams and the overall classification will again be the main objective in the 2014 Tour. The team still hasn't decided whether Nairo Quintana or Alejandro Valverde will be the captain but Dowsett is purely aware that he will be going to France as a domestique.

 

"Obviously the team will be made of up one guy going for the GC result, although we don't know who that is yet, and then climbers, which we have in abundance," he said. "Then they'll need riders for the flat and helping them around the bunch. That's where my strengths can come in, so I'll be looking for one of those slots.

 

"From races like the Tour of Beijing and Tirreno I've shown that I can look after a GC guy pretty well and make sure he's in the right place at the right time in crucial races."

 

To earn his spot, Dowsett plans to show himself in select time trials in the early part of the season.

 

"There are going to be races where I can show myself," he said. "So there's Tirreno where there's a team time trial and an individual one, but I'm in a good position in the sense that every time the TT bike comes out I'm going for a result and the rest of the time I'm helping the team and doing what I can."

 

Movistar has never been known as a team for the cobbled classics and last year Dowsett was selected as one of the riders that should try to improve their results in Northern Europe. However, the Brit won't return in 2014.

 

"I've asked to take a back step with the Classics," he said. "They were pretty disastrous for me last year, and I wasn't ready for them. I know what I need to do in order to be ready for them but next year isn't the year I want to attack them. I want to put all my focus on the Tour de France and I'd rather go to Flanders and Roubaix and be 100 per cent ready for them.

 

"It's a horrible experience lining up for a Classic when you know you don't have the form. I knew this year that within an hour of the first race that I could hold 400 watts for an hour but I couldn't hold 500 or 600 watts for two minutes and that's what those races are about. I just wasn't ready and I knew within the first hour of the first race. I lacked that specific training but there was nothing I could do, so it was a case of backs against the wall for every single Classics. I ended up pretty much hating them while I was there but I learnt a hell of a lot and it's something I do want to go back and attack, but the Tour is a bigger target for 2014."

 

In addition to his Giro win, Dowsett won the British time trial championships in 2013. 

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