Interview: Alex Dowsett (Movistar)


Movistar professional Alex Dowsett talks about his winter, the big goals for 2014 and how it doesn’t rain that much in Essex!

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

A year ago, when fans learned Alex Dowsett was leaving Team Sky for Movistar, many questioned the decision but after a Grand Tour Stage win and a season with the Worlds number 1 team, that decision has shown to be the right one.


There are after all, few opportunities for riders in Team Sky if your name isn’t Porte, Wiggins or Froome and Alex Dowsett knows had he remained in team, that the Giro stage win he got would not have been possible.

Alex was getting some speed work in at the Revolution series on Saturday night which is where we spoke. He started by explaining that his season will start a little later than normal although not late by British standards.

“I specifically asked not to do the Tour Down Under because I finished the Tour of Beijing (Oct 11-15) and to do that, have a rest and then try and get fit for Tour Down Under, I knew I’d spend the time panicking I wouldn’t get fit in time.”

“So I said I’d rather start in February in the Tour of Dubai (Feb 5-8) so I am looking forward to that as it could be quite spectacular.”

The race kicks off with a 10 kilometre time trial which Alex says is perfect for the British time trial champion. “I should be in reasonable shape for that after a good winters training. This time last year, I was struggling with all kinds of knee problems and all sorts so I didn’t get to start training until the first of January.”

“This season, I’ve been training solidly since mid November so I’m already streets ahead of where I was last year which makes me happy.”


2014 – the Season Goal
It was a rather silly question (assume nothing I say!) when you consider that stage 3 of the Tour de France races through his home county of Essex but when asked what the season goal was, the answer was simple and as expected; the Tour de France.

“By no means have I got a definite place” Alex says. “Where it is at the moment; the team would like me to be there, I’d like to be there. I feel I am as ready for it as I can be but I know it won’t be easy getting there because we are the number 1 team in the world so in the biggest race, they will want the nine best riders there.”

“I have to work hard but I think I am capable of it. There’s a good time trial at the end of the race but it’s a shame for me that it is at the end because being my first Tour, I may not back up day-to-day as some that are more experienced will do. But, I would have said the same in the Giro and that went better than expected. I just have to wait and see what happens.”


“The Commonwealth Games will be quite a big hit for me too. It comes three days after the Tour so I am either going to be on my hands and knees going slowly or hands and knees going well. Grand Tours though give you speed like nothing else.”

Alex’s Role in Movistar
Asked what his role is in the team, Alex replied “the Time trials have gone well for me this year, namely the British champs and Giro. But in others, I haven’t performed as well as I should have for a whole host of different reasons.”

“A lot of work I have done this year has gone unnoticed though. There are riders like Beñat Intxausti for example, who when I was writing down what races I’d like to do and Tirreno – Adriatico and Paris-Nice clashed, I said I’m not fussed which I do so he asked me to do Tirreno – Adriatico.

“It’s an example of how riders are starting to trust me as a domestique. Not one to work on the front but to move them round the bunch and keep them at the front. I showed Quintana in the Tour of Britain I was capable of that for example.”


“It’s another string to the bow and the team have said I need to start taking the initiative now. Instead of being told when to move up to the front, I need to make those decisions myself and tell our GC riders ‘we need to be at the front now’. So I guess that means I’m growing up as a cyclist and taking on some responsibility”.

After two years at Team Sky and one in Movistar, Alex says he’s comfortable in the peloton now. ”If I don’t finish a race, it’s not because I’m not good enough, it’s because I had a crash or have been ill. I feel I am working my way up the rankings and got a bit more respect in the bunch.”

Respect in the Peloton
One can imagine it being quite daunting for a young pro to fight for position in the peloton but Alex explains it’s more about the colours on your back than who you are?

“When you go to the classics, everyone holds Quickstep in high regard. You go to the Vuelta and everyone holds Movistar in high regard or you go to the Tour of Britain or Tour de France and it’s the Sky team. So I felt as a neo pro in Sky, it wasn’t like being a neo pro in a smaller pro team. People looked at you knowing you had earn’t that jersey and so trusted you knew what you were doing.”

“If we go to the classics in the Movistar jersey, it can be a bit more of a struggle than if you have a Quickstep jersey on your back. I think since we (Movistar) have been a lot more competitive across the board though,Movistar has moved on in how we are respected.”


World Number 1 – Movistar not Sky
In 2013, Movistar had quietly moved into the number 1 position which Alex thinks is just the Spanish way. “We don’t make a song and dance. We just go out and get on with it. They have such a positive mental attitude in the team. Every race, it’s like, how can we win today — we can win today… “

“If we don’t win, it’s like, we can win tomorrow. Success breeds success. In the Giro for example, I kicked things off (Stage 8 time trial) and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. We have this record where in every Grand Tour since Movistar started sponsoring the team, they have won at least one stage so there was a sigh of relief when I won the time trial.”

“After that, they started to take a few more risks and Visconti won (stage 15), then Beñat won one (stage 16) with plucky escape and then Visconti won another (stage 17).”

“It’s not dissimilar to when I rode for Trek and Taylor Phinney was setting the bench mark and we knew we had to raise our game. “

Winter Training
We all like to moan about the weather and I have to say, it has rained a lot since I arrived back in Britain on Xmas day so you may be surprised to hear Alex say “The weather has been good actually.”

“Everyone assumes it’s been bad but I have ridden more or less every day and the first time in the rain was New Years day. Movistar were like ‘how do you do it’ and I was like ‘it’s fine’. It’s not wet like everyone thinks and we (those in Essex) do get a good deal on the weather.”

“I have decided to do something different this year and have gone into the gym a bit more which I think will pay dividends. I am not doing a lot of weight, just lots of reps & sets and core stuff. I am working with a guy called Andy at Riverside Ice and Leisure near me (Chelmsford) who’s a good coach. I have listened to a lot of youngsters round me who follow some coaches like gospel and what they are being told is criminal.”

2013 Giro winner's podium Dowsett

Not just a season highlight but a career one – the first Grand Tour stage win for Alex Dowsett. May there be many more!

“Lots of riders under the one coach who are all getting the same programme. It is such a shame but Andy at Riverside is good. He never really knew cycling before he started so he went out and asked a lot of people and he tailor made a programme for me.”

It’s just under a month before Alex starts racing and so he’s heading to Alicante in Spain to where a company ( he’s part owner in will be holding a training camp. “I’m going to the hotel we use there and suss out the roads. It’s a lovely place and caters for cyclists.” He then added “And we have some great deals going on at the moment!”

New Bikes and Kit
The second year in Movistar has begun with new clothing from a British company (Endura) and new bikes. The shoes too are new from Diadora.

“The kit is lovely and all custom made” Alex explained. “Something I haven’t had before is they custom make the chamois depending on how big your backside is. I have been training in the new kit for a few days and it’s been very comfortable.”


“Everything fits well. It’s not made to stand up straight, it’s made to fit a bike rider so I am looking forward to getting the race skin suit as I know they have worked hard on them”.

Asked how the time trial bike is, Alex explained how he’s still waiting for it but is expecting it to be very fast. Once he has his, Alex says he’s looking forward to taking it into the wind tunnel with a couple of his teammates and getting the position right.

”I have set up the time trial bike and they are now building it. I have gone with everything I think will work for me. I haven’t ridden it but its German engineered and everything has a purpose. It does look fast but more importantly, it’s about function. There are no bits added on just to look good but then it does look fantastic anyway.”

Asked what he looks for in his TT bike, Alex replied “a clean look. No cables flapping about or bolts and screws everywhere. Everything on the Canyon is tucked away. It’s about getting as close to a track bike where you can’t see the front brakes or the rear brakes. I can see from our aero road bikes that there is a lot of thought gone into them. Like the seat post clamp is the frame number holder.”

“A lot of the TT bikes which are considered the fastest, like Specialised, Pinarello and Trek, that could be just because Cancellera, Wiggins and Martin are on them. So hopefully we can prove that the Canyon TT bike is also one of the fastest TT bikes out there.”


Tour de France contender Quintana – Alex looking to support him in the 2014 Tour de France.

A year on
Finally, we touched on it at the start and that’s the subject of whether going to a Spanish speaking team from a British one was a good idea for a British rider?

Alex doesn’t need to think about the answer … “it’s been absolutely top draw! They did everything they promised right from the start. They put me in my first Grand Tour and the one that suited me best.”

“If you look at Team Sky’s Grand Tour team (Giro), if I had been management, I wouldn’t have put myself in it so that would not have been an opportunity I’d have got in Sky. I did all the Classics, did terrible in them but know what I need to do next time. After the Giro, I was able to have a long lay off and they gave me everything I could ask for”.

“It is a nice place to be.”

Having seen Movistar at the Tour of Britain where they wowed the crowd on the road and at the start and finishes, it is no surprise that Alex has had such success there and why a company like Endura too have got involved with them. 2014 is set to be a huge year for both Alex and Endura and we at VeloUK hope they all have the success they are chasing on the roads of Europe and beyond.

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