Alex Dowsett: Beating Chris Froome to Olympic TT place will be difficult
By Matt Westby in Dubai
Last Updated: 04/02/16 2:56pm
Alex Dowsett is not giving up on beating Chris Froome to Great Britain’s lone place in the Olympic Games time trial this summer but has admitted his chances are slim.
Froome has been named as one of the early favourites to win gold on the hilly 59.6km Rio course, which takes in two laps of a circuit containing a 1.2km climb and a 2.1km climb.
Dowsett, who is the Commonwealth time trial champion, believes his only chance of selection is to win a high-profile time trial earlier in the year and is consequently hoping to ride the Giro d'Italia, where he won a stage in 2013 and which this year contains three individual time trials.
Speaking at the Dubai Tour, where he is racing this week, Dowsett said: "It will be super-difficult to get picked for the Olympics. Of course, I'm not ruling it out, but I really have to pull everything out of the bag to even be in the mix for selection.
"That is why I have asked Movistar if I can do the Giro this year, because I feel if I can do what I did in 2013 and win the long time trial there, and perhaps be competitive in the 10km prologue also, then that should give the selection committee a few headaches.
"The long time trial [40.4km, on stage nine] seems to be up my street. I'll head out beforehand and recce it, for sure."
Britain were only allocated one spot in the Olympic time trial after failing to place a rider in the top 10 at last year's World Championship time trial, where Dowsett finished 17th and Steve Cummings 12th.
Dowsett added: "It was half up to me to get that extra place. We needed a top 10 at the worlds and Steve and I didn't manage it. It is what it is."
Should Froome be given Britain's place, Dowsett does not agree with Tony Martin's claim that he will start as favourite, and instead believes Tom Dumoulin will be the man to beat.
The Dutchman has long been regarded as one of the best time-triallists in the world and also proved himself to be a strong climber by leading last year's mountainous Vuelta a Espana right up to the penultimate stage.
Dowsett said: "The favourite could be someone like Tom Dumoulin. He can obviously climb with the best of them now, and his time-trialling prowess is phenomenal.
"You always can't rule out [Fabian] Cancellara. It's his last year and he will be motivated, and he proved he can climb by winning that hilly stage in Mallorca [in January]. I know it's early season, but he has really got the bit between his teeth this year."
Although the Rio time trial doesn't suit him, Dowsett thinks he could fare better on the 2016 World Championship course, which takes place on flat roads in and around Doha, Qatar.
He added: "Like Richmond [the 2015 World Championships], it is going to suit a guy who can lay down big power for a long time, like your Vasil Kiryienka, Tony Martin types.
"I seem to be a little more competitive when it's technical - lots of corners, up and down - but maybe."