Spare a thought for Alex Dowsett (Movistar) as Jack Bobridge continues his final preparations for the Hour Record with victory on the opening stage of the Tour Down Under.
The Essex rider’s recent broadcast from his hospital bed after successful surgery to repair a collar bone broken on a training ride seemed chipper, but stands no comparison with Bobridge’s ecstatic response to triumph in Campbelltown.
Jack Bobridge appears to be approaching peak form as his tilt at the Hour Record draws near pic: Offside/L'Equipe
In the closing kilometre, the Australian jumped clear of a four-strong breakaway group that had ridden ahead of the bunch all day. A man in form? It looks that way. The Hour Record represents something of a perfect storm for the road man with track pedigree. While shorter events require a degree of specialism (Geraint Thomas sacrificed the opportunity to ride in Sky’s Tour-winning squad to prepare for the men’s team pursuit at London 2012, you might recall), the Hour seemingly offers a perfect synergy.
Bobridge has significant pedigree in both disciplines, with an annus mirabilis in 2011 netting him the Australian road race title, and rainbow jerseys in the individual and team pursuit. He was individual pursuit champion at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, too.
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) might provide further evidence to support the theory. He is racing Down Under in the colours of BMC Racing, and will travel to Switzerland for his tilt at the Hour on February 8 at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen.
Dennis is another with a formdiable track palmares, serving as a member of Australia’s world championship-winning men’s team pursuit squad in 2010 and 2011, and claiming an Olympic silver medal in the same discipline at London 2012. He is a talented time trialist too, though here Dowsett holds a psychological advantage, having beaten Dennis to gold in last year’s Commonwealth Games.
Should Dennis follow Bobridge’s example and bag a stage at the Tour Down Under, it is likely to add to Dowsett’s determination. The Englishman rides better when he his angry, and has the ability to turn misfortune to motivation. He, more than any of us, is likely to be following events in Adelaide with interest.