Alex Dowsett continued his strong season by taking victory at the British National Time Trial Championships with an impressive performance in Cambridgeshire.
The 22-year-old powered around the 47.3-kilometre course in Sawtry with a winning time of 58 minutes and 26 seconds to become the new recipient of the much-sought-after national jersey.
Dowsett battled back from a bike change to hold off team-mate Steve Cummings by 19 seconds and ensure a Team Sky 1-2 at the top of the timesheets at the end of the day.
The success marked the second victory of the season for the neo-pro who bounced back from an ankle injury to take his first professional win in August at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes.
Dowsett’s victory is significant as it sees the national colours remain within the Team Sky ranks for another season following consecutive victories from Bradley Wiggins.
After the event we caught up with a happy Dowsett who was relieved to have negotiated his way through an unwanted bike change.
He said: “I had a bit of a scare right near the end when one of the arm rests fell off. I had to swap bikes about 7k from the finish. I knew I was up at the time but with it being so near the finish I didn’t know whether I’d stayed ahead. I had a bit of a wait afterwards and funnily enough I found out on twitter that I’d won it.”
Dowsett feels the victory represents the next step in his progression through the ranks, with colour co-ordination now on the cards in the form of a new white bike and kit.
He added: “I had the under-23 and the junior jerseys when I was younger but the men’s one is a real step up. On paper it says you are the fastest time trialler in Britain so it’s an honour to be able to wear those bands for a year now.
“I’m just letting it all sink in really. With all the new kit and the bike it will be great. It will be cool to ride up and down Embankment next week [at the Tour of Britain] in the national champion’s kit.”
With tough conditions out on the course Dowsett revealed that he took the decision to set off quickly out of the blocks, admitting: “I started really fast because I thought a few people might be lazy early on with the distance. You rode to the circuit and then through it so I thought people might not start racing until they hit that part of the course.
“I like to get myself a buffer early on and I had people around the course giving me splits so I knew I was always up.”
With Cummings running him close to ensure a nervy finish, Dowsett was full of praise for his team-mate who again demonstrated his strong form in his return from illness.
He said: “Steve gave me a really good run for my money. Considering he doesn’t do the time trialling that I do and with the year he’s had it was really impressive for him to have gone that quick.
“On a course that was wet and reasonably windy we both averaged just over 30mph so I was pleased with my ride and I think Steve has done a fantastic ride himself.
“I’m under no illusions that Brad, Dave Millar and Geraint weren’t here. Had they been here it could have been a very different result but I will wear the stripes with pride next year.”
The Brit will now debut the new skinsuit during the penultimate stage time trial at the Tour of Britain in the centre of London.