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Dowsett laid low in run up to Tour of Britain
9:39am Friday 13th September 2013 in Sport
ALEX Dowsett’s hopes of success in the Tour of Britain have been dealt a blow.
Britain’s premier bike race kicks-off in Peebles, Scotland, on Sunday, for the first of eight stages.
The race will follow a nearly 1,200km route as the 114 riders head south for the grand finale in London for a city centre circuit race.
But on the way feature stages include a ten-mile time trial around Knowsley Wildlife Park and, a first for the Tour, a summit finish at the top of Haytor on Dartmoor.
This year’s race has attracted a stellar field including British favourites Sir Bradley Wiggins (Sky Pro Cycling) – who’ll be fine-tuning his form for the time trial in the World Championships later this month – and former World Road Race champion Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
Like Wiggins, Dowsett will be using the Tour of Britain to complete his preparations for the World Championships.
Yesterday he was named in the long list for the GB team in the road race at the championships in Italy and alongside Wiggins in the time trial.
For Dowsett the obvious attraction will be the Knowsley time trial on Tuesday where he’ll be riding in the British National Time Trial champion’s jersey and hoping to beat Wiggins as he’d done in May at the Giro d’Italia.
However, Dowsett, from Cock Clarks near Maldon, has not been able to train for almost two weeks due to illness.
The rider – who is a member of the Spanish Movistar team – said: “I was doing really well until up to about two weeks ago and hitting times that I had made in the Giro.
“But then I got ill, some kind of head cold but I continued riding but felt tired all the time. “I felt like I had been doing a five-hour training session and I hadn’t been on the bike.
“Then one of the Great Britain team doctors put their finger on it and said I was suffering from post-viral fatigue syndrome and I was put on antibiotics.
“I have been off the bike for two weeks, so what kind of state that will leave me in we will just have to wait and see.
“It is really disappointing because I was going really well. “At least I will be well rested.”
Looking ahead to the Tuesday’s time-trial and ahead to possible selection for the World Championships Dowsett said: “I think I am in a position where I am knocking on the door of the big guns like Wiggins.
“I don’t think I can be called a contender just yet.
“But I hope in a few years I can get into a position where I will be seen as a favourite.”
The 24-year-old is not sure how his performance will be affected by his recent illness but he is sure that he, and some of the other younger riders, will be going after the more established stars.
He said: “We will have to see how it goes. If any of the older guys have a bad day and some of us have a good day then anything can happen.
“I am sure that if any of them show any kind of a weakness the younger riders will pounce on it.”
This will be Dowsett’s third Tour of Britain and it has some good memories for him. “I did one when I had just finished school in 2007 riding for the GB team. Then I competed with Team Sky in 2011 and won the time trial in London.”
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