ESSEX cycling professional Alex Dowsett says the Tour de France will provide a ‘unique opportunity’ for the county to experience one of the greatest sporting events in the world.

He also said he was confident that the race coming to the county would boost the local economy and show off the beauty of the Essex countryside.

Dowsett, 25, was surprisingly omitted from Movistar’s nine-man team, having been named in the provisional squad, with his team citing ‘breathing problems’ as the reason for his non-selection.

Before learning of his Tour heartache, the Maldon man spoke to the Echo about what the Tour being in Essex would do for his hometown.

“It's huge,” said Dowsett, of Cocks Clark, near Maldon. “Cycling has become much bigger over the last few years in the UK and the Tour de France gives everyone a unique opportunity to see one of the biggest sporting events in the world come by their front doorstep.

“It also gives the rest of the world an opportunity to see how beautiful the Essex countryside can be also so it will hopefully help our economy with tourists being attracted to the area.”

Dowsett trains regularly on the roads around Essex and have travelled north out of the county with occasional training partner Mark Cavendish.

“We train on part of the route of stage three quite regularly,” said Dowsett, “so I know all the roads from Cambridge until we get to Epping”.

Dowsett said he thought there would be a number of breakaways in next Monday’s stage, with conditions set to play a part.

“Stage 3 will most likely be a bunch sprint finish so we will probably see a breakaway go in the early stages and then the peloton control the gap to reel them in as we enter London. Of course this is racing so anything can happen, if the winds are high then that may cause some interesting scenarios in the race.”

Thousands of people will line the streets in support of the riders, although the Movistar man says if you want to get a good look at the riders, spectators are advised to head to more rural spots.

“Try and find a climb the riders will be going up and be near the top,” he said. “That’s when they will be going a bit slower and you will see more of the race.”

Dowsett missed the Olympic time-trial through injury and told The Echo before his omission that this was ‘an opportunity I am determined not to miss’ and would be ‘disappointed if I’m not on the start line’.

But his focus has now switched to the other big cycling event this month. Dowsett recently got back from Spain, where he was preparing for this month’s Commonwealth Games.

Dowsett will ride in the time-trial on July 31 in a bid to put his season back on track and said he was confident of putting in a good showing.

“I feel like I'm in a much better place than pre Giro d’Italia 2013 (in which he won a stage). It’s been nice to have some consistency so far this year after injuries and illness last year.

“I’ve been spending time in Mallorca training in the heat and in Essex preparing for the time trial aspects of the Commonwealth Games.”