Alex Dowsett may be relatively unknown to those without an interest in cycling but the time trial specialist is forging a strong career in the professional ranks.

The 25-year-old opted to leave Team Sky in 2012 to join Spanish outfit Movistar as he sought a ride on one of the ‘Grand Tours’ the following year. Dowsett was subsequently rewarded with a place at the Giro d’Italia in 2012 where he recorded the biggest victory of his career, beating Olympic time trial champion Sir Bradley Wiggins to win the eighth stage. This was followed up by a third consecutive national time trial title in June.

A further indication of just how quick Dowsett is against the clock came only last month when he set a new British ten-mile time trial record in Cambridgeshire, covering the distance in 17 minutes and 20 seconds.

Assuming he makes the Tour de France start line in Yorkshire on Saturday, July 5, the stage through west Essex and East London two days later will mean much to the rider because he was born in Maldon and educated in Chelmsford.