At midday last Tuesday, he was posing for pictures with his friend Mark Cavendish after a training ride in perfect winter sunshine. Dowsett then decided to continue alone in the Essex lanes, ending up in a heap on the ground and with a very painful right shoulder.
Some 48 hours later, he was in surgery, telling his near 50,000 Twitter followers:
“Op is going to take an hour apparently, irony at its best.”
Now the decision had been made to postpone the record attempt. Before that decision was made, experts believed it may still have been possible that Dowsett would have been fit enough to be at the Olympic Velodrome on February 27.
After the surgery was judged a success, Dowsett got back on his turbo as soon as possible before the decision was made. No new date has been fixed as the road race season – and other targets – loom.
The current distance to beat is 51.852km but Australians Jack Bobridge and Rohan Dennis are both scheduled for attempts before Dowsett. Speculation was rife before Dowsett’s crash about possible Hour distances, some suggesting 53km was within reach.
It was never going to be easy for Dowsett, though, and a broken bone makes it even harder, but we still believe in our man.
“Onwards and upwards,” he said last week. That’s the spirit!
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly