Who is Tour of Utah leader Alex Dowsett? A guy who is tired of finishing second

A time trial specialist who can power the short climbs and who is tired of coming in second

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Stage 1, 2010 Tour of Utah, Alex Dowsett
Stage 1, 2010 Tour of Utah, Alex Dowsett

Alex Dowsett (Trek-Livestrong) is tired of finishing second. The 22-year-old Briton took solace in his new overall lead at the end of stage 1 at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Wednesday after finishing runner-up on the day to David Tanner (Fly V Australia).

“With such small margins after the prologue, if there’s ever a day to do it, it’s today,” said the British U23 time trial champ, who lives with hemophilia. “I was more concerned about yellow. I know Dave quite well and I know that he has quite a kick on him, so I didn’t really fancy my chances at the finish anyway. To be honest, yellow was more the priority.”

Dowsett, who ran seventh in the U23 world time trial championship in 2009, opened the tour Tuesday with a near miss behind teammate Taylor Phinney in the Capitol Prologue. A month earlier, he kicked the Cascade Classic off with a second-place prologue ride, as another teammate, Jesse Sergent, stole the leader’s jersey. Five days later, the Great Britain Cycling Academy product had his redemption, though, when he took Cascade’s final stage with a late, solo move on a rolling descent from Awbrey Butte.

Alex Dowsett palmares

  • Overall leader, Tour of Utah 2010
  • 2nd, Tour of Utah prologue 2010
  • 2nd, Tour of Utah stage 1 2010
  • 1st, Cascade Classic stage 5 2010
  • 2nd, Cascade Classic prologue 2010
  • 1st, European U23 Time Trial Championship 2010
  • 4th, Olympia’s Tour Prologue 2010
  • 8th, Tour of the Battenkill 2010
  • 7th, World U23 Time Trial Championship 2009
  • 1st, Great Britain U23 Time Trial Championship 2009
  • 1st, Great Britain U23 Time Trial Championship 2008

“The little climbs are what I do best, really, with my time trialing and that, so I just kind of used what I had left to power over them,” said Dowsett at the finish in Bend, Oregon.

That win came nine days after the dry-humored Brit won the U23 title at the European championships in Akara, Turkey. “I pushed so hard in the Europeans,” he said. “I went harder than I’ve ever gone, really.

He left the championships sick the next day and flew to Oregon after the weekend, arriving just two days before the prologue. “I didn’t expect it today,” said Dowsett. “I did Europeans Friday afternoon and was very ill afterwards and I haven’t ridden a bike since then, traveling from Turkey to England to here, so I wasn’t expecting much.”

Dowsett entered the season as a new recruit for Axel Merckx’s Team RadioShack feeder program. The final-year espoir fielded offers from multiple teams in the offseason and was set to sign with Rapha Condor Sharp before Trek took interest after worlds. Rapha director John Herety wished Dowsett well when the offer came in and Dowsett settled up for a season with the U.S. Continental team.

He featured in his first races of the year, the tours of Qatar and Oman, against ProTour fields. Dowsett jumped into what looked to be a promising breakaway on the third day in Qatar and made the daylong move in stage 2 at Oman. He also rode away with the split a few days later that caught race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) out and cost him the jersey.

2010 Tour of Utah video interview with Alex Dowsett
Watch a post-race interview with Dowsett on CompetitorTV

A week later he went out for his first ride in his newly adopted American hometown of Boulder, Colorado. The three-hour jaunt into the hills above town left him wrecked. He said afterward that it felt like he’d just finished a weeklong stage race.

Three months later, the multiple-time British junior time trial champion was acclimated and rode to his first top-10 on the National Racing Calendar, finishing seventh in the time trial at the SRAM Tour of the Gila. Sergent won that stage, announcing to the peloton that Trek-Livestrong would be a force in the TT this year. A fourth-place finish in the Olympia’s Tour prologue – behind Phinney – followed, but a fractured shoulder in May derailed Dowsett’s Paris-Roubaix Espoirs plans; Phinney won the race without him.

Looking forward to Thursday’s climb of Mount Nebo, the highest peak in the Wasatch Range, the new race leader said, “I just know that it’s flat and uphill. That’s good enough for me.” The TT specialist hoped to conserve time on the steep ramps of the mountain’s southern flank and make a run at the stage 3 time trial Friday night. “If I can limit my losses (Thursday) and then do a good time trial, we’ll see what happens in the crit and the final stage.”

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