By Sophie Smith
Alex Dowsett has recovered from a crash at the Eneco Tour and will start Sunday's Vattenfall Cyclassics as he eyes the upcoming UCI time-trial world titles.
Bradley Wiggins is likely to take one of the two spots Great Britain has qualified for the championships that have been a season objective for Dowsett who is up for selection.
The 24-year-old has excelled in the discipline this year winning his third consecutive national crown in June and besting Wiggins in stage eight of the Giro d'Italia in May.
Dowsett made his senior debut at the world championships last year finishing a respectable eighth, and, if in Florence, Italy next month, is hopeful of improving on that result.
"Last year went much better than expected. I didn't actually prepare for it and ran top 10 so this year I've focused on it quite a bit," he told Cycling Weekly. "I think the circuit will suit me so provided I'm there I could be in with a shout.
"I'm focusing my season as if I am doing the world championships. I'm definitely in the running for it. I know Wiggins is up for it as well. It's probably the hardest selection competition in the world."
The Eneco Tour was an objective for Dowsett following his successful Giro debut. However, he was forced to abandon during the second stage after an early crash. Reports of dislocated thumbs were inaccurate.
"I hit my head so I don't remember how it happened exactly. I had everything under control and then the next thing I knew I was on the floor - just road furniture I think," he said.
"I didn't dislocate either of my thumbs. That was quite literally lost in translation from a Movistar Tweet. I think everything goes through Google Translate.
"I strained one of them and the other hand went through someone's rear wheel and I just couldn't hold onto the handlebars," he continued. "I wasn't in a fit state to carry on at the time. I couldn't grab my brakes either so I was worried about getting back in the bunch and taking other people out if there was a go slow where everyone jumps on the brakes."
Dowsett, after Hamburg, will compete at the August 27-30 Tour du Poitou Charentes then the September 1 GP Quest France-Plouay and 15-22 Tour of Britain. The trade team time-trial world championship with Movistar is also a possibility.
Germany's Tony Martin is set to defend his title in the individual event the course for which spans some 57.9km.
The distance isn't a daunting prospect for Dowsett whose Giro win came at the end of a 54.8km run, although he clarifies it will be distinctly different.
"The average speed in the Giro TT was way down. Although this is longer I think it will be significantly shorter in terms of time," he said. "I know the climb quite early on, it's only about 1.6K, and it's fairly flat other than that so it's going to be quite a fast one that's for sure.
"The way I'm looking at it you've got your four sort of big hitters in Tony, Brad, [Fabian] Cancellara and [Taylor] Phinney," he continued. "And then there's a few of us knocking on the door - people like Jesse Sergent, [Luke] Durbridge, [Rohan] Dennis and myself. If [Chris] Froome's there he's in with the top boys as well.
"You can prepare as much as you like but then you can have a good day or a bad day. In the position where one of the top boys has a bad day, then us lads, if we have a good day, I think we'll be on them pretty quickly."
Dowsett said he hasn't lost anything in missing the time-trial stage that featured at the Eneco Tour. He has used club 10 events in the UK to get an idea of his shape and is on schedule.
"I love it. Guys that live in Girona they have their climbs that they test themselves on, I have a time-trial," he said. "It gives you an indicator with where you're at in your training."
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