Interview – Dowsett’s PerfectHour


Alex Dowsett’s toughest challenge so far in his career is the #PerfectHour at London’s indoor Olympic Velodrome

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Interview – Dowsett’s PerfectHour

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Friday 19 December | by Gordon Wiseman 

Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Giro stage winner Alex Dowsett (Movistar Team) confirmed today that he’ll be tackling the Hour Record – possibly his hardest ever challenge on two wheels – on Friday 27 February at London’s flagship Lee Valley VeloPark,


With interest in the UCI’s iconic blue riband event reaching new heights since they revised the Hour Record’s technical rules – Aussies Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Rio 2016 hopeful Jack Bobridge will both be attempting to break Matthias Brandle’s 51.852km target in the weeks leading up to Dowsett’s deadline with 60 minutes – the Essex born rider is being fully supported by his team and their technical partners Canyon (bikes) and Endura (clothing).

For Movistar it’s not the first time they’ve been involved in the Hour as in 1994 Miguel Indurain, then managed by Eusebio Unzue who’s now Dowsett’s team manager, set a new record distance of 53.040kms in Bordeaux under the then technical specifications when he was riding at the top of his form.

And when Dowsett finally climbs aboard his pristine white Canyon to start his epic ride, it’s quite possible that he’ll have to push to a distance further than Big Mig’s if Dennis and Bobridge have their way.

But for Dowsett, being lauded as the holder of the Hour Record is not his main motivation for his challenge. The biggest challenge is what he can achieve for the haemophilia community he now so visibly represents. And this ambassador role Alex fulfils is something Movistar fully buy into.

Before Dowsett explained his reasons for tackling the Hour at the launch of the #PerfectHour, Movistar’s PR guru Juan Pablo Molinero explained why the team are fully supporting Alex:

“When we were Banesto we supported Miguel Indurain as he set the Hour mark. We’ve been the best team in the world for the last two years and in Alex we have one of the world’s best time trial riders. And with the new UCI regs we decided, as a team that ‘now’s the time for us.’

“But it’s more than that. With Alex dealing with his haemophilia in the amazing way he does, we want him to send out a message of hope to those others with the same condition. For us we want Alex to set the #PerfectHour”.


Dowsett backed up those comments when saying “It’s not just me and record. This will be for the thousands of kids who also have haemophilia and it’ll give them hope. If I have record, even if I don’t have the record, my attempting the Hour means anything can be achieved.”

Alex’ ride will be part of a three programme of racing that will include more than bike racing and will extend that weekend’s round 5 of this winter’s Revolution Series that on Saturday 28 February sees Dame Sarah Storey attempt the Women’s Hour Record.

With his background on the track, Alex rode for the British Olympic Academy development team as a younger rider, Dowsett sees that as an advantage he should exploit:

“I think that’ll be a big advantage for me, simply having the experience ‘holding the black line’. In my day with the Academy I must have ridden more laps of Manchester than I’ve had hot dinners so being able to spin a gear at 130rpm will really help. So in that regard I think me and Bobridge will have an advantage over others without that track background”.

And he recognises that the Revolution crowds will play a big part in his attempt:

“I’ve ridden Revolution rounds before and those crowds give me so much. If they can cheer for the whole hour I’ll be in their debt for that. We’ll have support races, support acts and, hopefully, a great night for everyone, I just hope I can deliver”

Alex has already ridden at a Revolution round this winter and has been clocking up the laps at the VeloPark. He flies out to Mallorca on Tuesday for 12 days specific training – including sessions on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day – and that huge block of training will probably include some sessions on the Palma track as well.

And after that intense programme Alex has nearly 30 hours of planned track time to perfect his Hour technique and work with his technical partners. And it was the technical aspect of the attempt that Molinero also referred to:

“Everything about the #PerfectHour has to be perfect including the temperature. We’ve been working with universities in Spain, the UK and Canada working out what would be the perfect temperature for the attempt, how that will be affected by the expect 5000 crowd and how that will affect Alex’ warm-up, right down to when he should have his final drink before he starts. But most importantly with be Alex’ perfect motivation”.

And Alex explained that will come from his representing all the others who, like him, have haemophilia:

“In my off season I really had my eyes opened taking part in the Miles for Haemophilia campaign. We’d hoped to cover about 6000 miles but in fact we did over 15000, traveling to loads of countries including Finland, Sweden and Portugal telling my story.

“And it was in Portugal that a mum there just came up to me and hugged me, thanking me for all I’ve done on my bike. That outweighed anything I’ve done on my bike. And it’s what else I can do that now inspires me.

“I’ve always been interested in the Hour Record, to me it’s the purest test but now it’s giving me a whole new sense of drive and there’s the hugely important message it gives to the haemophilia community and those with other rare diseases, to kids who’ve been told they can’t play football or rugby and can’t do boxing. I’m doing the Hour for that.

“Attempting the Hour has given me a new perspective on the bike and the reason I race a bike and it’s given me a lot more drive. The impact my story is having on other people. A lot of people push themselves on this bike for personal; glory and that’s great. Winning the Commonwealths was great for me but that only lasts for a while.

“What I realised in my stint for the Miles for Haemophilia campaign is that my story is having an impact on a much deeper and much more important level and that made me realise that the better I do on a bike, the more it’s helping that community. And not just in the haemophilia community but also for others with some form of rare disease.

“When kids are told they’ve got haemophilia their parents are told about what they can’t do so I’m trying to prove that they can do things. All they really want to be told is that the haemophilia doesn’t have to stop them doing things and that they can lead normal lifestyles. If I can be treated normally in what I can do then others can be treated normally in their school, their workplace.

“I’ve never trained harder than I have preparing for the Hour. I could count on one hand how many 6 hour training rides I’ve done in my whole career and I’ve done three of those in the last 2 weeks. I’m going out to break that record but even if I don’t, if what I do inspires one kid to do something then that’s a bigger thing for me”.

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