Interview: Alex Dowsett Smashes 25 Mile Gold Standard


Gordon Wiseman talks to Alex Dowsett about smashing the blue ribbon 25 competition record on Saturday

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Interview: Alex Dowsett Smashes 25 Mile Gold Standard

Great Baddow’s Alex Dowsett (Movistar Team) smashed the national 25 mile time trial record on Saturday setting a time that’s 1 minute 13secs. quicker than the previous record time. And in doing so he dramatically raised his profile with the Team GB selectors ahead of the summer’s Rio Olympic Games.


The 27 year old now holds the fastest times at both 10 and 25 miles, the benchmarks that draw hundreds of British ‘testers’ each and every weekend up and down the country in pursuit of their personal best time.

Dowsett broke the ‘10’ record in May 2014 on the shorter version of the Newmarket-Cambridge A11 course where he set the new 25 record time. Organised by the Eastern Counties Cycling Association – the ECCA – this was the sort of event for ‘club’ riders that was the bread and butter of Dowsett’s early career that has since seen him break the Hour Record last year and take a Grand Tour time trial stage win at the Giro d’Italia in 2013.

But it was the amount of time Dowsett sliced off the 2014 mark set by long time British club stalwart Matt Bottrill that really caught the eye as he covered the slightly ‘long’ course – 25.2 miles – in just 44m 29s, the first time any rider has gone below 45 minutes for a ‘25’.

“I clocked my ride at 54.6kph, that equates to just under 34mph. And although we understand the course is slightly long than the absolute standard for a 25 miler, as long as it’s not short I’ll be credited with the new record. Holding both the 10 and 25 mile records, that’s really great for a specialist like me” he explained.

Alex’ programme for the year meant he should have been finishing the Giro d’Italia over the weekend but he was denied the chance of returning to the scene of one of his most famous victories by a freaky incident that was complexly outside his control.

“I’d been training for the Giro nearly all winter. The route this year had two time trials that would have been right up my street. But when I broke my collarbone last year when training for the Hour Record, they had to fit a plate to join and hold the bones together. I woke up one morning to find a hole in my skin and the plate was sticking through that hole!

“I was taken straight to hospital to get it sorted out” – and this is no longer causing Alex any problems – “but there was no way I would be able to ride for three weeks without picking up an infection or possibly causing myself another problem so I pretty much knew straight away that that was my Giro over. And I hadn’t even started the race!

“That was really frustrating, I’d been going really well with my training. But I guess that’s bike racing”.… continued after advert 


And as for Saturday’s ride putting mark in the sand for Olympic selection? “I don’t know really. It’s great that a ride like that will catch the eye of the selectors but I know it’ll be difficult to get a slot as riders like Chris Froome will be coming straight off the Tour de France – if things go well for Froomey – and the course is really one that suits Chris’ abilities. But I’m not giving up hope and the 25 record won’t have done me any harm”.

Chris Boardman is a previous record holder over 25 miles, setting his mark of 45mins 47secs in 1993. Since then some British ‘club’ riders have chipped small slices of Boardman’s time, a few seconds at a time, but Alex has set what he hopes will be the benchmark for some years to come. “Obviously training methods and equipment have leapt forward since Boardman’s day. When I was younger anyone setting a 48 or 49 minute ride on a course like the one I rode on Saturday would have been doing something special but on Saturday there were a few riders who did just that.

“But improvements to kit or not, we all still have to turn the pedals so Saturday’s ride is and will be for a long time, something I’m really – and rightly – proud of”.

Having missed out on this year’s Giro Alex and his team have had to reassess his targets for the rest of the year and, Olympics aside, Alex has some impressive goals he’s aiming for. “I’m riding the Tour de Suisse in a couple of weeks and whilst that would have been intimidating for me in the past, I’m in a much better place mentally and physically now so I know I can cope with the mountainous route and, hopefully, go for the two time trials in this year’s parcours.

“Then it’s the nationals where I’ll be aiming at for a fifth National Time Trial championship jersey which would mean I’ll have won that title the most times”. And then? “I’m on the long list for the Tour and I’ve unfinished business with that race that I want to put behind me”. In 2014 when the Tour visited Alex’ Essex home roads he was denied a place in the Movistar squad due to illness and last year he suffered a race ending injury when the Tour visited the cobbled roads of northern France.

“If I get to ride this year I’m confident that my climbing will have improved from the numbers I’ve been putting out in training and the team know what I’ve been doing. Yes I’ll be going to ride for Nairo Quintana on the flat road stages but the Tour is a race I want to finish”.



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