Alex Dowsett is the man in the middle of the National 25 drama. The Trek-Livestrong pro was given a wild card entry into the championship by Cycling Time Trials (CTT) on Tuesday, only to have it rescinded 48 hours later.
Speaking of the unexpected U-turn, he said: “To have it taken away… I’m pretty disappointed. It gets you up, then suddenly comes crashing back down again.”
“As soon as I saw that the field was full up, I started looking around for other events. But then I got news that I’d been given a wild card entry, which was great.”
Dowsett entered the event knowing full well that he might not get a ride. “I understand that rules are rules, I never asked for an exception to be made, but it’s disappointing,” he told Cycling Weekly.
“I’m representing my country in the European time trial championships [on July 16 in Turkey], and I wanted to use the National 25. I’d have been going there for the win, because it is quite a prestigious event in the UK, as well as good preparation for the Europeans.”
Dowsett had effectively no chance to log a qualifying time, spending last year predominantly in Italy with the Academy squad before moving to Colorado this season after signing for Trek-Livestrong, the feeder team to Lance Armstrong’s ProTour squad.
“The only time I came back for a long period of time was the winter – the end of the season. Apart from the fact I wanted a bit of downtime, there’s not many open 25s on anyway,” Dowsett said.
The Essex-born rider believes that a special dispensation rule ought to be introduced. “Hopefully they’ll make a few changes to the rules so that riders who are ‘globally challenged’ won’t have to go back for a qualifying time to get into an event. There could be selection on another basis: Wiggins, for example, won the prologue in the Giro.”
“It’s a sign of the times – there are more international pros on the scene. If Wiggins or Millar came back to ride, it would only help the national time-trialling scene,” he added.
As it stands, Dowsett has been unable to find a replacement time-trial to ride. Ironically, he was also refused entry to an ECCA 10-mile time-trial on the basis that his Essex club isn’t ECCA-affiliated.
Instead, he expects to do a training ride on June 5 (the day of the championship) before competing in Sunday’s Ryedale GP, which he has also entered.
The 21-year-old is currently in Holland for the Olympia’s Tour, hoping to ride well in the race-opening 10km time-trial around Heerenveen this afternoon.
This experience hasn’t knocked Dowsett’s passion for time-trialling. “I love the British time-trialling scene: that’s where I grew up and whenever I come back to the UK, I’ll always come back to it. These are just unfortunate circumstances.”
Dowsett has National 25 wild card given and taken away