By Nigel Wynn
British time trial national champion Alex Dowsett made his return to international racing at the Tour of Luxembourg on Wednesday after breaking his elbow in March.
The 23-year-old Sky pro crashed out of the Three Days of West Flanders in Belgium in the first week of March. Although he drove home from Belgium to Britain after the incident, subsequent X-rays revealed he had fractured his elbow.
Dowsett finished the short but tough Tour of Luxembourg prologue in 17th place, 10 seconds adrift of winner Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) but six seconds better than his time on the same course last year.
The 2.7-kilometre route features a technical descent followed by a cobbled climb. It's a course that suits the power men rather than the out-and-out time trial specialists, with riders using road bikes rather than aero machines.
"It's a tricky opening stage," said Sky directeur sportif Marcus Ljungqvist. "It's fast in places and it's a tough effort for the riders."
"It was nice to welcome Alex back into the squad. He was another rider who improved on his performance from last year."
Dowsett's Sky team-mate Matt Hayman finished in fourth spot with fellow Brits Ben Swift and Luke Rowe in 27th and 32nd spots out of a total of 126 finishers.
The five-day, UCI 2.HC-ranked Skoda Tour of Luxembourg concludes on Sunday, June 3.
Prologue winner Jimmy Engoulvent
Ben Swift tackles the cobbles
Dowsett breaks elbow in West Flanders
Alex Dowsett: Rider Profile