Alex Dowsett targets 2014 Tour de France spot

Alex Dowsett

Alex Dowsett - Credit: Archant

Cyclist Alex Dowsett is targeting a “once in a career opportunity” at next year’s Tour de France, after finishing the famed Giro d’Italia and claiming a stunning stage victory along the way.

The Maldon-born rider proved too fast for the likes of British Olympic legend, Sir Bradley Wiggins, to record a win in the 55.5km time trial stage, during the second Saturday of the 3,405km, 22-day event.

And while he won’t line-up in this year’s event, the 24-year-old, a time trial expert, has given his bosses at the Movistar team a welcome bonus ahead of the 2014 Tour de France, which begins in Leeds, England, next July.

Dowsett, the National Time Trial champion for the previous two years, finished 148th overall in the Giro – the first Grand Tour he’s completed,

He said: “That was my motivation, to finish the race.

“My team were telling me that I had nothing to prove after my time trial victory but the Tour de France was in the back of my mind and, with three or four stages in England, the chance to be on the starting line could be a once in a career opportunity.

“I wanted to prove to the team that I had the mental power and ability to win a stage and to finish the race.”

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Dowsett took the lead in the time trial stage between Gabbice Mare and Saltara, then faced an anxious wait to discover whether or not he would be standing on the podium later in the day.

“I had to go out earlier in the race and I posted the fastest time,” said haemophilia sufferer Dowsett, who was 10 seconds quicker than second-placed Wiggins.

“It was then a case of waiting for someone to beat my time and a few guys came close.

“Only the winner goes on the podium and if your time is beaten, you are on the coach home.”

He added: “The win is definitely the biggest achievement of my career and I know what it means to win a stage of the Grand Tour.

“Samuel Sanchez was the Olympic (road race) champion in 2008 but he also won a Grand Tour stage and whenever anyone talks about him, they always talk about his Tour de France exploits.”