‘You think you are a Movistar’ says the song – and that was definitely the case with the winner this day.
Essex boy Alex Dowsett proved that there is life after Sky with a brilliant time trial win in the Commonwealth Games event to add to his 2013 TT stage in the Giro, beating Aussie race favourite Rohan Denis into second and Wales Sky flyer Geraint Thomas into third on a blustery sunny Thursday afternoon around ‘The Dear Green Place’ that is Glasgow.
They say the watch doesn’t lie in a time trial but it can mislead you; Rohan had bested early leader Dowsett at the final time checks but as Dennis did his best Serhiy Honchar charging water buffalo impersonation and bludgeoned a mega gear home, losing seconds on every corner, sleek Walthamstow greyhound Dowsett kept the gears down and flew into Glasgow Green like a kermis king to grab gold.
Dennis’s face as he prepared to vacate that nice Rennie Mackintosh hot seat was a combination of disappointment and shock – his team car would have been keeping him well advised of his progress and although he would have known he was tying up, he’d have believed he had enough in hand to hold off the man who’s almost as fast as the cars he drives – last we heard that was a Mercedes C63 AMG.
Leading after the first wave of lesser riders was Janvie Hadi of Rwanda in a respectable 54:44 for the 38.4 kilometres in and around Glasgow on a course which had a bit of everything but was definitely one for the ‘chrono men.’
The first of the big hitters to go was Welsh Sky man Luke Rowe; Pinarello Bolide, flat back – but those curls poking out of the Kask helmet means wasted watts.
He should know it was the drag off his ponytail which cost Laurent Fignon a Tour de France – well, that’s what the US aero gurus say…
Welshman Scott Davies pulled a wheel not far off the ramp and then the mechanics didn’t bother to push him back into the fray – dear, dear.
Thomas looked calm in the start area as big Steve Cummings rolled his BMC down the ramp.
Svein Tuft was our tip; spies telling us that he came out of the Tour as fresh as paint.
Aussie, Michael Hepburn was another ‘possible’ as was Kiwi Jesse Sergent.
Dowsett chatted to David Millar before the start; Alf Engers wouldn’t have approved – he was an early advocate of getting into the ‘zone’ – as Ireland’s Michael Hutchinson rolled into action.
Luke Durbridge’s hard graft at the Tour for GreenEdge would surely work against him but word was that he was so in love with his new Scott time trial ‘weapon’ he was sure to fly.
Scott were one of the last ditch conventionally placed front brakes and now just the brake block tips peep out of the forks a la Trek’s Speed Concept.
Time check one and Thomas tops Tuft – but what about those bare hands – lycra mittens would save those vital points of a watt.
A bout of bronchitis cost Dowsett his Tour place with the ‘Telephone Squad’ – but that could well work to his advantage, he’ll be fresher than those who’ve been to Hautacam in recent weeks.
Former Kiwi team pursuit star, Jesse Sergent looks good – and on a Trek Speed Concept the hardware can’t get much better.
‘Meelaar’ as American folks are wont to call the defending champion goes out a like a kilometre rider and is soon in to that immaculate crouch, the gear flowing sweetly.
Thomas looks good, too – geared higher than Millar and more physical.
Turbo Durbo runs down Michael Hutchinson – plenty of material for the Irishman to write about, there.
Dowsett goes top from Sergeant and Durbridge – and despite Millar’s poetry in motion that lack of racing is catching him up – 21 seconds down.
You simply can’t give that away at this level.
Tuft leads at check two – but he’s not fluent, there’s strength but nothing else.
Thomas takes over, rocking a little more now.
Dowsett looks like part of that Canyon – those long overshoes ain’t to my liking but that wind tunnel data doesn’t lie and there’s no bottle either to churn up that clean Glasgow air flowing over that sleek carbon.
But it’s Aussie Rohan Dennis who tops the time check thus far…
Now Dowsett catches Hutchinson and grabs top spot as his ribs threaten to puncture his skin suit – I had ribs, once.
It’s over for Millar; 50 seconds back.
Thomas is in the ‘death gears’ as his long legs can’t hold the cadence and it becomes about strength.
Time check three and Sergeant is fading, Thomas is moving about more, every time you do that it disturbs the air and those watts have gone forever.
Dowsett slices past Durbridge like it was a club ‘10’ but Dennis goes top; we love those yellow skin mittens – if they’re part of the Aussie skinsuit then even better.
It’s between Dennis, Dowsett and Thomas but the Aussie doesn’t look the same rider and is veering towards brute strength.
He reminds me of Ukrainian former World Time Trial Champion, Serhiy Honchar whose style was that of a wounded buffalo on a death charge.
Thomas is slogging too but getting it round – Dowsett is still smooth, not silky but less physical than Dennis and Thomas but he’s down, down, down.
Thomas goes top at the line.
And it’s raw brutality from Dennis now, punishing that Cervélo and heavy legged into the final turns.
He goes top with a desperate punch drunk charge along the finish straight.
He’s as full of riding as you can be at this stage; he whistles into the final bends around Glasgow Green and still has good cadence in his legs.
He flies the home straight; nine seconds is the margin on Dennis who looks dazed and 14 seconds on Thomas who’s resigned to his fate.
There were only these three in at the death – Tuft @ 51 seconds fourth and Sergent @ 52 seconds, fifth.
‘Great’ is the word for this race, this city, the parcours, the battle we witnessed and not least, Mr. Alex Dowsett.
Time Trial, Elite Men
2 Rohan Dennis (Australia) 0:00:09
3 Geraint Thomas (Wales) 0:00:14
4 Svein Tuft (Canada) 0:00:51
5 Jesse Sergent (New Zealand) 0:00:52
6 Michael Hepburn (Australia) 0:01:29
7 Steve Cummings (England) 0:01:33
8 David Millar (Scotland) 0:02:14
9 Luke Durbridge (Australia) 0:02:16
10 James McLaughlin (Guernsey) 0:02:58
11 Mark Christian (Isle of Man) 0:03:09
12 Michael Hutchinson (Northern Ireland) 0:04:24
13 Marcus Christie (Northern Ireland) 0:04:35
14 Zachary Bell (Canada) 0:04:34
15 Andrew Roche (Isle of Man) 0:04:52
16 Scott Davies (Wales) 0:04:52
17 Luke Rowe (Wales) 0:05:06
18 Till Drobisch (Namibia) 0:06:38
19 Janvier Hadi (Rwanda) 0:07:02
20 Muhammad Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi (Malaysia) 0:07:14
21 Yannick Lincoln (Mauritius) 0:07:27
22 Aaron Bailey (Guernsey) 0:08:10
23 Valens Ndayisenga (Rwanda) 0:08:57
24 Gerhard Mans (Namibia) 0:09:05
25 John Muya (Kenya) 0:09:06
26 Dominique Mayho (Bermuda) 0:09:13
27 David Njau (Kenya) 0:09:28
28 Arvind Panwar (India) 0:09:40
29 Giovanni Lovell (Belize) 0:10:39
30 Raynauth Jeffrey (Guyana) 0:10:46
31 Christian Spence (Jersey) 0:10:47
32 Matthew Osborn (Guernsey) 0:10:59
33 Lee Calderon (Gibraltar) 0:11:07
34 Andre Simon (Antigua and Barbuda) 0:11:07
35 Julian Bellido (Gibraltar) 0:11:07
36 Michele Smith (Cayman Islands) 0:11:08
37 Sombir (India) 0:11:29
38 Marlon Williams (Guyana) 0:11:38
39 Mike Chong Chin (Mauritius) 0:11:41
40 Danny Laud (Anguilla) 0:12:09
41 Joel Borland (Belize) 0:12:17
42 Buddhika Warnakulasooriya (Sri Lanka) 0:12:21
43 Mark Francis (Gibraltar) 0:12:26
44 Samuel Anim (Ghana) 0:13:06
45 Antoine Arrisol (Seychelles) 0:13:28
46 Christopher Symonds (Ghana) 0:13:31
47 Jyme Bridges (Antigua and Barbuda) 0:13:34
48 Edward Pothin (Seychelles) 0:13:45
49 Marvin Spencer (Antigua and Barbuda) 0:13:48
50 Chad Albury (Bahamas) 0:15:01
51 Kris Pradel (Anguilla) 0:15:38
52 Sherwin Osborne (Anguilla) 0:15:53
53 Leonard Tsoyo (Malawi) 0:17:25
54 Missi Kathumba (Malawi) 0:17:54
55 Jay Major (Bahamas) 0:18:40
56 Moses Sesay (Sierra Leone) 0:23:18