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Dowsett secures GB extra Tokyo Olympics spot with World Championships time trial ride

Joe Robinson
26 Sep 2019

Despite career-best performance, Dowsett may still miss out on next year's Olympics

Despite securing Great Britain an extra spot at next year's Olympic Games time trial with a career-best fifth in the time trial World Championships, Alex Dowsett may not be guaranteed his spot at Tokyo 2020.

The Katusha-Alpecin rider finished 2:02 down on eventual winner Rohan Dennis who saw off competition from Belgium's Remco Evenepoel and Italy's Filippo Ganna, who completed the podium.

Dowsett's ride was good enough, however, to see Great Britain awarded a second spot in the time trial at next summer's Olympics in Japan.

The 30-year-old's performance in Harrogate would suggest he would be among the favourites to represent Great Britain in Tokyo, but strict rules around participation could see him miss out.  

'That performance throws the Olympics in as a possibility but they have this ridiculous rule where you have to be part of the road race team to ride the time trial,' said Dowsett.

'It’s ridiculous because it’s like saying to Usain Bolt if you want to do the 100m, you have to do the 800 and 1500m, they are different sports.'

Dowsett missed out on the podium by just seven seconds but exceeded his pre-race expectations by breaking the top five. The good performance also came as a relief to Dowsett who felt the pressure of a home World Championships.

'Before the time trial, I was really nervous the last few days, actually. When I get nervous I start moving around and [get] unproductive and not resting,' said Dowsett post-race.

'I don’t like a target on where I want to finish because I want to win. Looking at what’s realistic, I would have thought top 10 so I’m happy with fifth. It was nice for it all to come together.'

One of the riders to topple Dowsett was 19-year-old Evenepoel. While the Belgian conceded almost 70 seconds to the day's winner, it was an outstanding performance considering he was racing as a junior only 12 months ago.

Dowsett made note of Evenepoel's performance and earmarked him as a genuine contender for gold in Tokyo next year.

'He is phenomenal. Take his age out of the equation, in two months he won Classica San Sebastian, Tour of Belgium and the European time trial. Those are three completely different races that should be won by three different riders, which is special,'  said Dowsett.

'For sure Rohan will need to look at him properly as competition for the Olympics next year.'