Alex Dowsett destroyed the field at last night’s IG Markets London Nocturne, lapping the field halfway through the race to complete a fine individual victory.
The Team Sky rider attacked at the very start of the one hour + five lap event, and powered on to win by a minute, despite easing off to celebrate the victory once he had caught the peloton.
Rapha-Condor-Sharp’s James McCallum had the edge over Endura Racing’s Jack Bauer to take second, with Graham Briggs, Dean Downing and Ed Clancy leading home a Rapha one-three in the bunch sprint.
However, the Tour Series leaders had no answer for Maldon-born Dowsett, who proved that the only way was Essex in London last night.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly shortly after the race, the time trial specialist admitted that he didn’t expect his audacious move to pay off.
“That was a surprise,” he said. “It was a do-or-die effort tonight, as usually when you go for those moves early on, nine times out of 10 they don’t work.”
Attempting to explain why he was allowed the freedom of Smithfield Market, he added: “Perhaps the black kit helped me disappear into the night!”
Dowsett’s family were in attendance at the unique night time event, and he said that he had learnt a valuable lesson from his father.
“To be honest, I had been talking to my Dad about the race, and he was getting really excited about the race. He told me to go from the gun, but I told him that it would never work. Perhaps this shows that you should listen to your parents!”
Having gained a 15 second advantage within the opening ten minutes of the race, Dowsett ploughed on with his attempt to win the race, and the peloton were soon in his sights.
“When it go to the point that I could see myself going along one straight and them going along another I started to back off as I felt they would come after me. I wanted to leave some in the tank so I could try and hold on for the win, but then I saw the back of the bunch and that was a big relief.”
The race for second place
Dowsett’s team-mate Russell Downing had previously won the event, but is still suffering the side effects from a nasty crash in the final week of the Giro d’Italia.
He did follow his brother Dean into an ill-fated chase group once Dowsett had secured the race win, but the main field were not going to let them get away as easily as the victor had.
The final laps were a flurry of activity behind, and coming off the front of the peloton on the final lap were McCallum and Bauer, who held off the remnants of the pack to decide the podium places.
McCallum had won the first Nocturne back in 2007, and was disappointed that the chance for glory passed him and everyone else by so early.
“Alex just took off tonight. A few of us chased him but we just didn’t get across to him.
“Our only hope was for another group to get a lap on the field, which never happened. It’s a race we want to win, but tonight he was untouchable,” said McCallum.
Bauer summed up the situation perfectly, saying: “By the time I got to the front of the bunch Alex was too far ahead.”
IG Markets London Nocturne 2011: Elite Mens Criterium
1. Alex Dowsett (Team Sky)
2. James McCallum (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) at 59s
3. Jack Bauer (Endura Racing) at st
4. Graham Briggs (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) at 1-02
5. Dean Downing (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
6. Ed Clancy (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
7. Jason White (CyclePremier.com-Metaltek)
8. Tobyn Horton (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
9. Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing)
10. Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)
Dowsett enjoys the Champagne on the podium…
…and describes his bold attack to Anthony McCrossan