Feature – Q & A with Alex Dowsett


Today’s Q & A is with former Hour record holder and Grand Tour stage winner, Alex Dowsett, British time trial champion

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Feature – Q & A with Alex Dowsett


1. You’ve had quite diverse success in 2015, so was breaking the Hour Record the pinnacle of that success or were there other highs that competed with that?
Alex: Yes, I’d say the hour was the pinnacle, it became my life for the months preceding it and was good to get the job done. Plus, it was a great experience with all the sponsors and team working together towards one goal, especially after the collarbone setback.

I felt like a very small cog in a very big team effort to get the record. It was by no means an individual attempt. Bayern (Overall and stage win at Bayern-Rundfahrt) was great as well, managing to get a yellow jersey and keep it to the finish was nice. I’ve been spectacularly good at losing yellow jerseys within a day or two in the past.

2. Was the Hour Record the biggest challenge (the toughest ‘race’) and was it full of unknowns and if so, how did you break it down to tackle them one by one?
Alex: Not at all. It really was the epitome of “train hard, fight easy” and I mean that in all aspects of the preparation. We were all super disciplined in the approach and stuck to a plan. By ‘all’, I mean the team, the sponsors and myself.

It didn’t matter if we broke the record by a metre or a mile so all the training was based around Rohan’s record pace, rarely any faster, with that being the target pace in training. It actually made race day reasonably comfortable, without of course meaning any disrespect to Rohan, it’s easier when you have a target to work towards. His was Matthias Brändle’s.

Records go that way quite often, chipping away, no one comes out and says “I want to run a 6 second 100m sprint,” they aim at knocking a tenth or hundredth of a second off Bolt’s current record, then that’s the new standard to beat. I guess what I’m also trying to say is that we broke Rohan’s record in the preparation, not a do or die attempt on the day, the planning was meticulous.


3. How will 2016 be different – what are going to the big challenges for you – and if Rio is one of them, is GB restricted to one or two riders in the event?
Alex: Well for starters, I’m not at the velodrome twice a week doing 20 minute blocks of hour record pace! I’m back on the road doing normal roadie training. Before Xmas, I was in the gym a lot as well. I’ve cut this down post Xmas and head out to warmer hillier climates as well.

Rio will be a big target but a huge ask. Both TT and road races are very hilly, something I’ve not been too great at historically. We only have one place for the TT and they have to come from the road race team as well which is a ridiculous rule in my eyes as it compromises both events but that’s life and I’ll have to make the best of it.
At the moment, given the second part of this year for me, I wouldn’t take me to the Olympics if I was the national team so I’ve got some work to do. Before Rio though, my main target is the Giro and doing well in both TT’s there, then retaining my national Time Trial title and subsequently hopefully, I can’t be ignored for the Olympics.

4. Racing at the highest level, how relaxing is it to front up to a grass roots TT like a club 10 etc and race just for the pleasure with no pressure what so ever.
Alex: There’s always a bit of pressure and I put most of it on myself. Like, I know what I should do numbers and time wise in a club 10 so there’s that pressure to perform but also to hurt yourself like you would in a pro race even though you know it’s not a race that’ll bear any consequences on whether you do well or not. I enjoy racing though, more so than training, and I’m still learning how to Time Trial and I enjoy that as well.

5. As the years go by and you become more known in the peloton, does the racing become ‘easier’ on the head because there are more people to have some banter with before the racing gets serious at the finale?
Alex: Well my mum keeps telling me off for looking like I’m just having a chat with anyone and everyone during races. I keep telling her there are calm periods when you can and then serious periods where you can’t. I’ve got a group mates spread across different teams so it’s always nice catching up with people.


6. How did you spend December on the bike?
Alex: Fairly long miles, nothing too crazy to be honest, a lot of gym time which takes its toll, mountain biking as well and the odd full gas track league on a tiny tiny gear. There’s a bit more variety than usual!

7. What is your favourite getaway from pro racing? IE, track days or sun and sand ….
Alex: Anything car related I guess. I’ve been in Caterhams around Donnington lately trying to go quicker than my dad. I ended up quicker but the difference was dad was straight on the pace whereas I took all day to build up to it. He’s still got it!

8. Which of the charities do you promote and why?
Alex: Well I have my charity, Littlebleeders and we’re really starting to get some good traction and generous funding now so we can really focus on doing some good on a bigger scale. Within the UK, hemophiliacs are well supported with medication thanks to the NHS so we focus on making sure they are active and fit and healthy as it’s crucial for us to be to help prevent internal bleeding.

If you’re 20kgs overweight, that’s 20kgs more stress going through your ankle and knee joints so they will be more prone to bleeding internally. On a global scale, less economically developed countries are decades behind us in the quantity and quality of medication they receive and the suffering hemophiliacs go through is really awful. Quality of life reduces dramatically and it is a condition that untreated will cripple the hemophiliac so our aim is to get medication to them.


Flat stick on the track!

9. Alex Dowsett PLC is much more than just a bike rider – what other businesses are you involved in and do you get much time during the racing season to keep your eye on them LoL?
Alex: For a while losing money on cars was my best way of distracting myself from bike racing but luckily Ford have stepped in to support me. I’m looking forward to testing out both the new Mustang and RS.

Cyclism is a new venture of mine. It came about when I realised through talking to everyday riders how much I take the support I get and knowledge of how to be a pro bike rider I have for granted. So I, along with Holly, Sky and James, set up Cyclism and my ethos is and always will be that everyone under our umbrella, our partners and staff etc, I’d be more than happy for them to help me with my career at a world tour level.

Coaching is what we’re doing best at currently and our clients are seeing some very promising gains. We cater for everyone as well, whether it be training to get an elite licence, complete the Haute Route or just starting out, we’re also stepping into management as well of athletes and again, that’s down to me as an athlete knowing what I’d like and what’s fair, and of course, seeing things done very badly as well. Our site is http://www.cyclism.com

10. And one for next Xmas, as a professional, you have a lot of the best in cycling, but if you could have any cycling related Xmas present – what would it be!
Alex: A downhill mountain bike and more importantly the talent to go with it.



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