Alex Dowsett plays down chances of taking Tour de France yellow jersey

Movistar's Alex Dowsett expects the opening Tour de France time trial in Utrecht to be fiercely contested among not just the TT experts

Alex Dowsett, British time trial national championships 2015
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Alex Dowsett is among the favourites to win Saturday's opening time trial at the Tour de France but the Brit isn't expecting to take the win on the fiercely contested stage.

At just 13.8km, the Movistar rider believes it won't just be the out-and-out time trial experts who will be up there in the rankings, with more riders motivated by the prospect of taking the yellow jersey.

Speaking to skysports.com, Dowsett insists he's at the Tour to protect general classification contender Nairo Quintana, but wouldn't mind winning his second Grand Tour time trial, having triumphed at the Giro d'Italia in 2013..

"Winning stage one and taking the yellow jersey would be career-defining," Dowsett said. "If that is all you had on your CV, you could be more than satisfied.

"It's not out of the question. I think you will likely still see the [time-trial] specialists at the sharp end of the results list, but the problem with a short time trial is a lot more riders become a threat and would be motivated for it.

"Certainly, the sprinters and classics riders would all be able to deliver a strong prologue, so I think it will be a closely fought battle. I will attack it as hard as I can, as always."

Tony Martin is the bookmakers' favourite to take yellow in Utrecht, with Tom Dumoulin, Fabian Cancellara and Dowsett's teammate Adriano Malori also strongly tipped to do well.

 Cycling Weekly's experts discuss the opening stages of the Tour de France

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.