'You grab a rest and get ready for the next surge - or for Peter Sagan to accelerate'

Alex Dowsett talks about his power numbers at Milan-San Remo and racing Paris-Roubaix.

Alex Dowsett on stage one of the 2017 Challenge Mallorca
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

Alex Dowsett (Movistar) said that his power numbers at last weekend's Milan-San Remo would have been around 700 watts - and that there was no chance for respite with Peter Sagan around.

Sagan finished second in the first Monument of the season, while Dowsett finished a credible 44th in the second group on the road, in just his second edition of the calendar's longest race.

The race's final climb, the Poggio, was where Sagan made his move and was joined by eventual race winner Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors).

Dowsett kept pace on the Poggio with the leading group, but described the moment when Sagan attacked.

He said: "For the Poggio, you have to stay in the wheels and stay on top of your power. I didn’t look at the power meter once, but I’d probably be surging at 600 watts or 700 watts and then backing off to 300 watts or 400 watts.

"I’m not a climber, and I knew that at 600 watts, I wasn’t going to last long, but it’s Milan-San Remo and you have to hang in.

"You grab a rest and get ready for the next surge - or for Sagan to accelerate."

Dowsett, who is preparing for May's Giro d'Italia in support of Nairo Quitnana, is racing the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the coming weeks.

>>> Luke Rowe column: Here’s why the cobbled Classics are nuts

He raced the two cobbled Classics in 2013 and 2014, but failed to finish on all four occasions.

However, the Essex time trialist is confident that he can make it to Roubaix's velodrome on April 9.

“They are special races, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “The buzz around Flanders is unbelievable.

"I’ve raced Paris-Roubaix twice and reached the Arenberg Forest and then pulled the pin.

“I’m in better condition now. Roubaix is one to tell your grandkids that you finished. I want to give it a good crack and just get to the showers. It’s important for me; it’s a rite of passage."

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.