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"It will take a bit of time before I realized what I have done, I still can't believe myself. It was quite a harder TT than I expected; without a doubt, the hardest in my life," Dowsett says

Photo: Movistar Team

ALEX DOWSETT

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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11.05.2013 @ 20:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alex Dowsett (Movistar) got his career off to a fantastic start as he won his first ever time trial in a three-week race in today's 54,8km 8th stage of the Giro d'Italia. Beating his compatriot and former team leader Bradley Wiggins by 10 seconds, he exceeded his own expectations in a technical, hilly time trial that he described as the hardest of his life.

 

Most people had expected a Brit to come out triumphant in today's mammoth 54,8km time trial in the Giro d'Italia but while most were certain that it would be pre-race favourite Bradley Wiggins who would take part in the stage winner's press conference, it was instead his former domestique Alex Dowsett who was seated in front of the international media. The Movistar rider had done an outstanding ride over most of the course to beat the his more famous compatriot by 10 seconds.

 

Dowsett is known as a strong time triallist and took over the British time trial championship title from Wiggins last year before ending up 8th at the world championships. Today's performance is, however, by far his biggest achievement and the Brit was amazed at his own achievement on a very difficult course that required great versatility.

 

"It will take a bit of time before I realized what I have done, I still can't believe myself," he said. "It was quite a harder TT than I expected; without a doubt, the hardest in my life. I took some extreme gears, a 55-29, to fight such different sections. The last climb seemed like it was never going to end, a cloud in my eyes as I believed I could never reach the finish. Before the start, getting into the best ten would have been enough for me, so being able to notch up the victory is amazing."

 

Dowsett was far behind in the GC and so an early starter in today's stage. Having beaten the previous best time set by Jesse Sergent by no less than 2 minutes he faced a long wait in the so-called hot seat before he could finally be crowned winner of the day. Here he was able to follow the day's progress and saw how Wiggins was far behind at the first intermediate check while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was 8 seconds ahead at that point.

 

“For me, the race was about doing what I do," he said. "I was catching a lot of riders: it was like a carrot on a stick for me, although I knew a lot of them were taking it easy. The wait was horrible. There were three stand out moments: one, when (3rd placed Tanel, ed.) Kangert came in very close to my time. Two, when I was up on Wiggins at the split, although I knew he’d improve. And three, with Nibali, when I knew the reverse would happen: I knew he’d be good in the twisty start, but I’d be better on the later, power sections, and that was how it went.”

 

Dowsett already gave indications of his good condition in the stage 2 team time trial where he was one of the key men behind Movistar's formidable 2nd place. Despite the need to support Benat Intxausti's GC ambitions, Francisco Ventoso's sprint opportunities and Giovanni Visconti's defence of his mountains jersey, his Spanish team knew that he was in with a chance in today's stage and so he was allowed to save his energy for today's appointment. With the time trial now behind him he will, however, slot into a domestique role for the rest of the race

 

"The team had given me confidence to take things easy in the first week, thinking of this day," he explained. "This was my goal, the day when I wanted to do my best. My personal ambitions are more than fulfilled with this victory, and from now on, my only duty will be working for my team-mates. Beñat lost a bit of time, but we will try to get him back close to the best overall again."

 

Dowsett bucked the trend at the end of last season. Having started his professional career in his big home team Sky and stayed there for two years he made the very unusual choice of moving to a Spanish team. During the two first years of his career he had largely been kept away from the world's biggest races and he knew that those were exactly what he needed to develop further. At the same time Movistar was in need of a strong time triallist to improve their team time trial squad and that's how he ended up as a very unusual member of the old Spanish powerhous.

 

“It wasn’t a hard decision," he said. "I enjoyed my time with Sky and for my first two years as a pro it was the best place to be. But I wasn’t in the big races and I couldn’t see me getting in. Movistar wanted me and, more importantly, they wanted to put me into the big races. I’m very grateful to the team: they rested me as much as they could before this stage, and I’m glad to repay then for their faith in me.”

 

Dowsett is also unusual in another sense. He suffers from hemophilia and the Brit sees himself as an ambassador for people suffering from the disease.

 

“If it wasn’t for my haemophilia I wouldn’t be here now," he said. "I was diagnosed at 18 months. The National Health Service and my parents have taken care of me. I was told swimming was the best way of taking care. I used to swim 5 or 6 days a week. That fitness made me fast on the bike. I want to send a message out to young haemophiliacs, because it’s a common misconception that you should wrap your kids in cotton wool.”

 

Dowsett will get back to his domestique role in tomorrow's 9th stage to Firenze. Starting at 14.15 you can follow all the action on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

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