Commonwealth Games time trial champion Alex Dowsett is number 17 in our countdown of the best riders of 2014

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Alex Dowsett made up for any disappointment at being left out of Movistar’s Tour de France team by winning the Commonwealth Games time trial in Glasgow. He beat the ever-improving Rohan Dennis by nine seconds, Geraint Thomas by 14 seconds and world championship silver medallist Svein Tuft by almost a minute.

His other time trial victory was a stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe, which gave him a day in the leader’s jersey.

However, it was his performance at the Tour of Britain, particularly his breakaway on the stage to Hemel Hempstead, which really lives in the memory

During stage four he went on the attack only for a double puncture to ruin his day. He was unable to rejoin the break after getting his wheels replaced because the commissaires did not turn a blind eye and let him pace back up to the group he’d been with, as is the custom.

He attacked early on stage six and spent almost all of the day’s 203 kilometres with fellow escapees Matthias Brandle and Tom Stewart. It was close but the group managed to stay away with enough of a gap to give Dowsett the yellow jersey.

“I think I’ve eaten more gels today than I have in my lifetime,” he said after the stage. “It was probably one of the hardest, if not the hardest day I’ve ever had on the bike.”

Although it did not work out perfectly for him – he lost the yellow jersey the following day – it was still a ride that lives up to the definition “epic”.

We will be counting down the 20 best British riders of 2014 throughout December, with the top 10 published in the December 18 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine