Feature: Sunshine for Dowsett in a Difficult Year


Gordon Wiseman chats to British Time Trial champion Alex Dowsett who’s bang in form after an injury hit season about new challenges like a junior development team for example

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Feature: Sunshine for Dowsett in a Difficult Year

In a year where his main targets had been taken away from him by injury and a lack of racing miles, Alex Dowsett (MovistarTeam) put a lot of that disappointment behind him with a brilliantly calculated win in the final time trial stage, of last week’s Tour of Poland.


Resplendent in his National Time Trial champion’s red, white and blue jersey, Dowsett covered the 25km course in a rapid 28m 59s to finish over 20 seconds ahead of his team-mate Jonathan Castroviejo.

And as he explained after his winning ride, beating Castroviejo was particularly sweet for the Essex born rider because “Jonathan has beaten me in individual TTs more times than I’ve beaten him!

“Getting the 1-2 for the team was great but before we started the final stage I’d seen Jonathan as probably being my biggest rival for the win so this time to turn the tables on him, even though we’re team-mates, that’s a really nice feeling”.

The course suited Alex’ British TT pedigree perfectly. “It was a bit rolling but very much an out-and-back course so very much like classic time trials that British ‘testers’ race every weekend. And with a tail wind out, head wind back, that meant pacing was an important factor in my ride, pacing, speed, power and riding smart.

“And I think with the major TTs I’ve won I’ve shown that, on my day, I can really ride a smart time trial”.

This year’s Tour of Poland proved to be a particularly tough event. With over 1100kms scheduled to be covered in 7 stages, the sixth stage was cancelled completely because of the heavy rains and flooded roads.


And stage 5 wasn’t much better with that day’s atrocious weather stretching the day’s racing out to over 7 hours for Dowsett. But Alex was one of the brave survivors that day with 85 riders not making it to the end of the stage.

“I was determined to get through that stage, not only as I was determined to finish a stage race as big as the Tour of Poland this year but that would mean I’d be in with a chance of winning the time trial as well.”

Frustrating Season
It’s been a frustrating year for Alex with his missing out on a ride in the Giro d’Italia in May due to injury and that lack of racing miles possibly impacting on his chances of getting a place in the Team GB squad for the Rio Games as well.

“So getting that result has really boosted my confidence for the second part of the season” says Dowsett. “And, of course, I’ll have picked up some all-important WorldTour points as well!”

But at the start of the race against the clock, Alex thought the appalling conditions he’d raced through until then may have affected his chances of taking the win. “After the recce I was feeling quite bad and I was thinking that the tough stages had taken too much out of me. But once we got rolling things started to turn round. In the tailwind out I caught a few guys and that always boosts the morale but I still knew the more talented riders would be starting later behind me. But even though I knew any tiredness would feel worse in the head wind racing back I never felt I was fighting the bike.  … continued after advert


“I was also pleased with my form in the mountain stages. They weren’t the long 40-50 minute slogs you get in the Alps but at about 3-4km long, much steeper climbs. My climbing has improved so, rather than getting dropped early on, I was never in the last group and was able to keep up with the groups further up the road. That was another victory for me but a much more personal one. But overall, that was a tough race”

Alex hopes that the second half of his season will include a ride in the Tour of Britain in September – where he’ll be hoping to repeat his 2011 success in the time trial stage of that race – and further rides in the World Championships in Qatar, not only for Team GB in the individual time trial and road race, but also for Movistar Team in the all-important team time trial.


But his next race will be this coming Sunday when he’ll be racing in the Prudential RideLondon one-day classic for a Team GB squad. “UCI rules mean I couldn’t ride for Team GB if my pro team – Movistar – were racing but as they’re not I get an extra chance to ride for my national team and on my home roads”.

Off the bike, last week Alex was speaking about the Miles For Haemophilia campaign he’s heavily involved in at the World Haemophilia Congress in Orlando, USA. But he’s also been working behind the scenes putting together a Junior racing team for 2017. Or as Alex puts it “trying to put something back into the sport that’s given me so, so much”.

The Dowsett Development Team in 2017
When he was a younger rider, Alex rode for the incredibly successful Glendene CC and wants to develop a team that is at least as successful as that squad. “But it’s not just about developing future pro riders” he explained.

“The team will primarily be for 16 and 17 year boys and girls but we’ve also got our eyes on a very good pair of under 16 year old riders as well. But even if they don’t get to fulfil their dreams of getting pro contracts as I’ve been lucky to do, racing at a very high level will help them develop for their lives after and off the bike.”


Explaining the ethos behind the team further, Alex explained, “At this point, it’s not about just getting ‘the best’ juniors. We want those who’ll commit to the team, want to improve and so, finish off as better riders. Ultimately we want to create an aspirational pathway. Then, as the junior riders get older, let them move on to an U23 team and from there, who knows where things may go”.

“Working through his Cyclism company, Alex has got most of the budget needed for 2017 to kick-start the project, “but we can always work with a bigger budget so if anyone wants to provide further sponsorship we’d love hear from them. From my own base, obviously I’d like to attract local riders and sponsors. After all, Glendene CC were very much a team based around my home roads.”

“The extra funds we secure will help us make the team even better. We’ve got a great management team behind us with former British pro James Millard and former GB runner Mark Harris on board. Mark is relatively new to cycling but his enthusiasm is infectious and will go a long way in helping the youngsters develop their own talents”.

Alex’s own enthusiasm for the project is as infectious and, seeing that his own highly successful sporting career kick-started from a similar development squad, the opportunities the team will provide could lead a local youngster onto a professional career at the very top of their game.


Send your results as well as club, team & event news here


Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: ,