Alex Dowsett admitted he realised his chances of retaining the Friends Life Tour of Britain leader’s jersey were slim early on in today’s seventh stage.
Dowsett lost the jersey to Garmin-Sharp’s Dylan Van Baarle in Brighton today having been distanced on Ditchling Beacon, the first of two climbs in the final 20 kilometres. He slipped from first to tenth overall.
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“I thought I woke up feeling pretty fresh, but as soon as we hit those climbs, I knew I was suffering,” he said. “I got as much food down my neck as I could, and looked after myself as best as I could.”
Van Baarle was part of the day’s breakaway group that formed early on and amassed a near 10-minute lead.
And whereas Dowsett was among an escape group who benefited from the peloton’s inability to mount a coherent and unified chase in Friday’s stage to Hemel Hempstead, his Movistar team found that rival teams were not so forthcoming with help this afternoon.
“With the finish being as hard as it was, we knew we needed a back-up plan,” Dowsett added.
“We didn’t want to use Giovanni [Visconti] or [Ion] Izaguirre to work, because they were still up there on GC.
“But the gap to the break went out so much, and the other teams said if we didn’t put one more guy up there, they wouldn’t help. Visco had to do a lot of work late on, he tried to help me save it [the jersey].”
Nonetheless, the 25-year-old admitted he enjoyed the opening seven days of this year’s national tour.
Dowsett said: “It’s been a good week. Hopefully I’ll have a good time trial [in London] tomorrow.
“It’s better to have worn yellow for a day than given up on the GC after day three. It’s been a nice race – Mick Bennett has produced one of the best Tour of Britains yet.”