British national champion is fourth in French race's time trial stage behind winner and team-mate Adriano Malori

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Alex Dowsett (Movistar) put in a strong ride in the Tour du Poitou Charentes time trial stage in France on Thursday afternoon to claim fourth place behind Italian team-mate Adriano Malori.

The British time trial champion and former Hour Record holder put in the early fast mark on the 23.2-kilometre course from Monts sur Guesnes to Loudun, but was subsequently bettered by team-mates Malori and Jonathan Castroviejo in second, with former world champion Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) third.

Dowsett’s result bodes well for the forthcoming World Championship time trial in Richmond, USA, at the end of the month, where the Essex man is slated to take one of the two Great Britain places in the discipline, likely alongside Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Sky). Although the full official start list has yet to be announced, he may also form part of Movistar’s squad in the Tour of Britain (September 6-13).

Martin’s third place in the time trial has propelled him to the top of the general classification of the UCI 2.1-ranked Tour du Poitou Charentes, 37 seconds ahead of Malori. Castroviejo is third at 38 seconds. Dowsett moves up from 74th overall to ninth, one minute and 21 seconds behind Martin.

The race concludes on Friday, August 28, with a final road stage from Gourge to Poitiers over 197.8 kilometres.

Dowsett has endured a season of highs and lows. After a training crash saw him fracture his collarbone and reschedule his Hour Record attempt, he successfully set a new record for the iconic mark in May. Later the same month, Dowsett took his first stage race win after taking the time trial stage of Bayern Rundfahrt in Germany.

After being selected for his debut Tour de France in July, Dowsett was forced to abandon the race after crashing heavily on stage four, sustaining a deep laceration to his arm which required six stitches. He continued to support Movistar leader Nairo Quintana, but after scraping in just before the time cut on stage 11 – alone and 33 minutes behind the stage winner – he called it a day on the following stage.