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 (
8. Tobyn Horton (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
9. Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing)
10. Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)

london nocturne

Dowsett enjoys the Champagne on the podium…

london nocturne

…and describes his bold attack to Anthony McCrossan

  • Tom Adams

    A fantastic evening’s entertainment, and an incredible solo effort by Dowsett.

    Must point out though that there was a major crash involving the entire peloton round the back end of the course about 20 minutes in – a fact that seems to have escaped every report including the race commentary. Fortunately no-one was seriously injured, and only a handful of riders had to retire.

    Not to diminish Dowsett’s achievement – he then proceeded to gain at least 5s per lap on the peloton from then on(!) – but this undoubtedly aided his attack.

    All in all, this was a brilliant event. I took along four friends who’d had no prior interest in pro cycling, and they all came back absolutely buzzing and hungry for more – bring on the Canary Warf Tour Series finale next Thursday!


  • karl brooks

    the british pros put on one of the fastest bike races Ive ever seen in 35 years of racing , dowsett put on a dissplay of unbeleaveable speed that had the likes of bibby and backstead and a number of top pros ride in to the pits wondering how one man could hold that speed for so long. Lets hope the tour series learms from races like this . Thanks for a brilliant evening and a chancre to meet up with some off the 34 nomoads
    karl brooks

  • janine joseph

    What a fantastic event! The Nocture had it all; thrills, spills and killer bikes. The racing was incredible, each event having it’s own unique character and highlghts. The standout events for me were the women’s criterion, a stunning display of fitness, technique and racing, and the unbelievable men’s elite criterion, the last breathtaking event of the night. In between was everything from an extraordinary penny-farthing race, a couple of run-outs for the ambulance, a brilliant team relay effort, and a mad sprint carnage that introduced the folding bike race, which as it happened turned out to be a bunch of semi-pros and very fit blokes masquerading as commuters in city suits! The longest skid was the funniest thing i have seen in a long time, and won by someone who was unsurprisingly called ‘hill-billy’!! But the performance of the night had to be Alex Dowsetts breathtaking, audacious display in the men’s criterion. WOW, i am so glad i went. The crowd were going crazy, and the entire spectacle was beyond belief. I cycle through Smithfield everyday, and i will never be able to nip through it again without the memory of the peleton screaming through the street. As Dowsett caught the peleton, I got the feeling i might never see a display like that again…

  • norman bright

    all the racing was superb- I walked from Stamford Hill to see it! I have always like alex-after all her aced at North Weald the series that i started some years ago-he is a real credit to the sport friendly and brave-what better than one say other that Essex rules yeah we ahve had great Essex riders and now that Alex and Dan Patton are showing that young riders can handle pressure we in the soutj of england can hold out heads high by the way if you want to see the old guys it’s this wednesday at Hog Hill also known as Hogwarts Alex has raced there and has time for everyone0he is worth a fortune to sky let them know . we were yelling for alex -Alex dowsett (clap clap)