Commonwealth Games 2014: Delight for Alex Dowsett as he turns anger into golden ride
Time-trial gold for the man who missed out on the Tour de France
An angry man is a happy man in Glasgow, at least in the case of Alex Dowsett, the Chelmsford comet who channelled frustration at missing out on the Tour de France into time-trial gold in Scotland.
Dowsett described his nine-second victory over Australia’s Rohan Dennis and Welshman Geraint Thomas in third as a career highlight, no matter what might come next in the grand tours. Bronchitis cost him his place in the Movistar team at this year’s Tour, which passed through his home town during the British leg.
“No one out there wanted this more than me. I went through hell to be on that top step. It was a bitter disappointment not being selected for the Tour de France. I spent the whole month fairly angry, not at anyone in particular, just angry at the situation.
“Commonwealth Games was a big target for me anyway but it suddenly became a huge target. I really wanted to do something big. I’ve always been the same, since I was a kid. I usually pull something fairly big out the bag when I’m really angry.”
After building a seven-second lead over the first two timed stages, Dowsett lost 15 seconds and the lead to Rohan in the tricky, hilly third section of the 38.4km course. Once back on even terrain, however, he engaged the extra gear that saw him claim a stage win at the 2013 Giro to more than recover his losses on the run back to Glasgow Green, adding gold to the silver he won in Delhi four years ago.
England’s Emma Pooley (left) after receiving her silver medal in the women’s individual time-trial (Getty Images)
“I was getting time checks all the way round. I was two or three seconds up at the first, seven seconds at the second and down at the third checkpoint. I thought it was all over to be honest. I was struggling in the last 10k, but everyone was struggling. Gladly everyone was struggling a little bit more than I was. I can’t describe just how happy I am with that today.
“This is bigger [than the Giro stage win]. I think a lot of nations that aren’t in the Commonwealth don’t understand just how big the Commonwealths are. I didn’t give it the credit that was deserved before Delhi and that silver medal there just proved to me how massive the Commies are.
“This will be a career highlight for me, regardless of what I do from here on in.”
David Millar, the golden boy in Delhi, paid tribute to his Scottish brethren lining the course in warm afternoon sunshine, likening his time-trial farewell to a stage on the Tour de France. “I’ve never experienced anything like that,” Millar said after finishing eighth. “There were moments out there where it was deep with people. I was very proud. It was just blurs and Saltires.” Only Sunday’s road race to go before Millar parks the pedals for good. The same goes for the triathlon-bound Emma Pooley, who took silver in the women’s time trial. After leading through the first two timed sections, Pooley, 31, fell just six seconds outside the gold medal-winning time set by New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen.
“You can’t be frustrated when you have done your best,” she said. “Obviously it was nice to cross the line with the quickest time, not so nice when someone goes quicker. But Linda deserves the credit for having a fantastic race. I’m not upset to be losing to her. She is a fantastic time-triallist and deserved to win.
“I don’t want to look back with regrets because you can’t rerace it,” she added. “I’m thrilled to have a medal at all and especially with such fantastic support on the course. There were even some Scottish people shouting ‘Emma’, which I’m really grateful for, so thanks Scotland.”
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