Reigning British national time trial champion and Movistar road pro Alex Dowsett made the most of his visit home to Essex when he stormed to victory in the opening round of the RTTC Classic Time Trial Series on Sunday.
And the in-form ace gave his red, white and blue jersey a good airing as he broke Matt Bottrill’s old course record for the E99/25 course at Finchingfield by almost two minutes.
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Conditions were typical early-season fare; the sun came out mid-morning, but a chilly northerly breeze was not kind and compared unfavourably with the conditions at the time of Bottrill’s course record.
On any other day, Matt Smith’s (Team Bottrill) ride would have been a talking point as his 55:31 beat a strong Dean Robson (NoPinz) by 46 seconds. However, Dowsett lopped nearly two minutes from Bottrill’s mark with 51:54. His average speed for the 25.5 miles was an eye-watering 29.5mph; an exhilarating pace on a course described as ‘rolling’.
To be so close to the 30mph mark on a sporting course gives an indication – if it were needed – of the yawning gap between the amateur and pro testers, as well as a tentative sign of Dowsett’s build up in form for May.
“The last couple of years I haven’t done so many time trials, and I think my time trialling in the pro ranks has slipped a bit,” admitted Dowsett. “This course is the same distance as the Giro time trial.
“The course for the Giro is hillier, but the roads are harder on this one, much stickier, it was a bit of a slog the whole way.”
In the women’s event Claire Rose (Podium Ambition PC-Club La Santa), back in full training after reducing her hours as a junior doctor, blew the opposition away – with most of them being her team-mates.
“I was chuffed on that course and it’s good to get a win with the first race of the season. It’s also great to try out all the new kit,” Rose said after her 59.39.
Watch: Pro bikes – Alex Dowsett’s Movistar team bike
It was a clean sweep of the medal places for Podium Ambition, with Sara Headley two and half minutes back and Elizabeth-Jane Harris third in 1:05.26.
Even without Sarah Storey and Katie Archibald the team managed to place seven riders in the top 10. Only Emma Lewis (Adalta CC) disrupted the hegemony with a creditable fourth place.
The veterans’ race came down to a fight between Julian Ramsbottom (Pedal Pushers RT) and Ian Holbrook (Stone Wheelers), with Holbrook taking the spoils by a convincing margin, 59:11 to Ramsbottom’s 1:01:05.
In the Paracycling category, Rik Waddon (Para T) raced away to win the C3 and Adrian Jones (Jedi Cycle Sport) used the force for a rapid 1:05:18, taking home the C4 win.