Feature – Alex Dowsett’s Golden Glasgow


Gordon Wiseman talks to Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist from the Men’ sTime Trial Alex Dowsett

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Feature – Alex Dowsett’s Golden Glasgow

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Riding in the red and white of Team England, Essex boy Alex Dowsett blasted round the roads of Glasgow on Thursday to win the Commonwealth Games men’s Time Trial gold medal and in doing so, helped wash away at least some of the disappointment of missing out on a hoped for ride in last month’s Tour de France.

Covering the 38.4km course in 47 minutes and 42 seconds, to win from Australia’s Rohan Dennis by just 9 seconds. Dowsett clocked an average speed of bang on 30mph with the Gold medal ride eclipsing the silver he won at the Delhi Games in 2010.

Through out 2014, Dowsett had been on the short list for the Tour but was cruelly denied a place in the Team Movistar’s nine man line up – and a chance of a debut ride in the world’s biggest race on his home roads – by a bad infection he picked up in his final Tour warm up race in Switzerland.

That disappointment may have crushed the spirit of many riders but the 25 year old used that disappointment – and anger – to fuel his determination to win in Glasgow. “A gold medal was the only option for me” he explained after the race. “Of course I was disappointed at not riding the Tour after all I’d done in the year but if I’d been on the team’s selection panel I’d have probably made the same decision. I really wasn’t well after Switzerland”.

“But I missed out on the 2012 London Games after breaking my arm earlier that season, had a bad ride in the World’s last year after I was ill following the Tour of Britain and so to then miss out on the Tour as well, I thought I’d had enough bad luck”.

Alex admits to avoiding the Tour as much as he could when the race started in Yorkshire, “I went to the GP at Silverstone for the first couple of days. I only properly started watching it once it had gone back to France”. After a short recovery period, Alex was soon back in the saddle and an effective training regime quickly saw him again producing excellent results, boosting his confidence ahead of the Scottish Games. “I was really training like a man possessed” he reflected.

Dowsett demonstrated to all his rivals that gold was the only colour in his mind in Glasgow as he sped down the start ramp. “I had a plan and that was to go out really fast, set the quickest time at the first check point to try to demoralise my rivals. I really put the hammer down as I was fastest at both the first and second check points”.

But Alex accepts that he then started to fade a little. “When Rohan was ahead of me at the next two check points I think I must have panicked a little but I was determined not to go down without a fight. I was in a world of hurt towards the end and was seeing double but I was determined to give it my all”.

“It was a real struggle towards the end but obviously everyone else was in exactly the same place as clearly the clock shows that I was quickest!”

In fact, after being nearly six seconds down on his Aussie rival with just 6kms to go, Alex pulled that time back and opened out a gap of a further 9 seconds at the finish.

“Even as I crossed the finishing line at the end, I didn’t know I’d won. I was getting times in my earpiece from the team car up until the last check but it must have fallen out so it wasn’t until I got to the podium chairs and I saw Rohan sitting in second place that I knew I’d won”.

Such was the quality of the field that the top ten finishers could easily have been filling out the top positions in a top ranked stage race. “I’d beaten all those riders in other time trials but then they’d all beaten me as well so we were all pretty much evenly matched. I guess it came down to who wanted it the most on the day”.

“And I really wanted that gold medal”.

Alex won a time trial stage at last year’s Giro d’Italia but couldn’t say which was the better result. “To the team, the Giro will be the better result but, as they’re not involved in the Commonwealth they won’t fully appreciate how big the Games are, but the top ten finishers shows exactly what a quality field I was racing against”.

“And it was a great course. The organisers did a great job there as there were parts of the course that suited every rider. I didn’t find the climbs to be that difficult and there were parts where you could really put the power down. Towards the end when it got twisty, I was really throwing the bike around”.

Dowsett lined up with his five Team England team-mates for Sunday’s 168km men’s road race that was contested in truly diluvian conditions and such was the rate of attrition, only 12 of the 139 starters finished the race. After his efforts in not only training specifically for the time trial but also the appalling weather, Alex found that he didn’t have the required form for what was like a big city centre race circuit and climbed off as the race hit half distance.

His programme for the rest of the year will probably be based around next week’s Eneco Tour, the Tour du Poitou Charentes – where the neo-pro took his first professional road win in 2011 – the Tour of Britain and then the World Championships where he hopes to stake a place in Movistar’s line-up for the Team Time Trial championships before again hoping to perform at his best in the race for the individual time trial Champion’s jersey.


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