Dowsett sets his sights on a spot in Katusha-Alpecin's Tour de France team

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Alex Dowsett has not been this deep into a Grand Tour since 2013, but says that he should be challenging for stage wins at the 2018 Giro d’Italia rather than celebrating just being able to finish

Dowsett took his only Grand Tour stage win in a time trial at the 2013 Giro d’Italia and placed sixth in the Rovereto time trial on Tuesday and, as he pointed out, has been riding consistently through the three weeks.

“It’s where I should be,” Dowsett rolling to a stop in his red Katusha-Alpecin kit on the edge of Lake Garda ahead of the start of stage 17.

“I shouldn’t be celebrating just finishing a Grand Tour, I should be competitive. I showed in both TTs that I’m there and getting to where I need to be.

“I feel that I have a lot to thank the team for with that, just the consistent support. They helped me get back to where I can be with the potential I showed in 2013. I had flashes of that over the last five years, but now I have to be consistently solid.”

Before joining Katusha at the start of 2018, Dowsett spent five years at Movistar with Nairo Quintana, in 2013 winning the Giro d’Italia’s time trial ahead of Bradley Wiggins. He raced the 2015 Tour de France in support of Quintana – abandoning through illness on stage 12 – and has not returned to a Grand Tour since.

However his fifth place behind Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) in the 2018 Giro’s opening Jerusalem time trial and sixth on stage 16 are good signs for the five-time British time trial champion.

“It’s good for morale, I had a lot fewer bad days this year. I’ve been on top of it this season,” Dowsett continued.

“There have been moments when I forgot how hard a Grand Tour is. I’ve been backing it up well, different than 2013 when I was on death’s door often. I was in the 2015 Tour, but stage 12 was it for me.”

Dowsett must still survive three demanding days in the Giro’s mountains and the final stage in Rome. The Giro will give him good form to try to take the British stripes back at the National Championships in June..

“That’s the next big target,” Dowsett said. “I will put my hand up to be on the long list for the Tour de France. I want to be on it. It’s competitive team to be in, but I think that I can help Marcel Kittel, as well. I hope, and I can only ask.

“Two Grand Tours in row? The way I have ridden here, I think I can back it up. I felt good here. Being able to do what I did in the TT shows that I’m backing up well, I think I can handle it. And lead-outs are something I want to be a part of and I’m excited about.”