Circuit de la Sarthe (st. 3)
Essex boy excels over 6.8km ITT course in Angers to claim Movistar Team’s 12th success of the season, seizes lead in overall classification
Alex Dowsett (Movistar Team) confirmed today on stage three of the Circuit de la Sarthe in Angers what he looked able to do after his sixth place in the Tirreno-Adriatico time trial. The British ITT champion made a convincing display over the 6.8km urban course to take the win and the yellow leader’s jersey.
Dowsett clocked the fastest time halfway through the competition, beating provisional leader Kristof Vandewalle (TFR) by twleve seconds and clocking an astonishing 8.05, which neither the specialists -such as Dennis (GRS) and Navardauskas (GRS), second and third respectively- nor the riders with bonus seconds ammassed through the first two mass sprints could beat.
It’s Dowsett seventh victory as pro cyclist -after his three national championships, the 2013 Giro d’Italia’s long TT and stages in Poitou-Charentes and the Tour of Britain (2012)- and Movistar Team’s twelfth in 2014, the Blues set to defend his team-mate’s first spot on two hard days coming up from tomorrow. Stage four will feature six climbs of the Mont des Avaloirs into Pré-en-Pail’s finishing circuit, for a total 196 km.
REACTION / Alex Dowsett: “I already thought of this race in the first training camp in November, and I said to the team: ‘I think I can maybe win this race, because in the past, time triallists have won here.’ it was quite similar to the Giro time trial – obviously much shorter, but it was hilly and technical. I took some risks on the corners and I really thought like I had made a good job of it after the finish. I have not enjoyed the classics much this year – I always kept in the back of my mind that I could do well here, and I thought that if I had a bad crash, it would stop my chances, not only here but my preparations for the Tour de France. That made difficult for me to take any risks in Belgium.
“I think I’m good shape at the moment. It doesn’t matter if this is a big win or a small win: it’s nice to see your name at the top of the list. It’s also nice for me to pay back the team, always supporting me. I think we have a really good, strong team here. The main goal now is to keep the jersey and I think we have a team that can help me to do this – that will be the main target, but it’s not going to be easy. The French teams do not want a Spanish team to win in France and I guess they will fight hard, but I think we can do a really good job here.”