Interview conducted by Daily Peloton staff writer Sam Jackson.
Alex Dowsett is certainly a name from which big things can be expected. An 8th place at the World Time Trial Championships aged just 23 cemented his reputation as a world class time trialist. The former Trek-Livestrong rider is currently in the midst of completing his switch from Team Sky to Movistar for the 2013 season, a move made with big career ambitions. The British rider here discusses Movistar, the off-season, and his goals for 2013 and beyond.
Alex Dowsett riding at the 2010 U23 ITT World Championships. Photo © 2010 Jarrod Partridge
Sam Jackson: What is a typical off-season for Alex Dowsett?
Alex Dowsett: Iíll spend 3-5 weeks where the only bike I may look at is my mountain bike, it's good to step away from it all to refresh the body and mind, during this period there'll usually be a holiday of some sort and a bit more partying than usual. Then when it's time to start training I'll do one week lightly building up the hours then into the long base mileage, so 4-6 hour rides daily looking to get 25-30 hours a week. As the season draws nearer the hours drop down a little and intensity is added through intervals.
Sam Jackson: Is that fairly standard in terms of what other pro cyclists do?
Alex Dowsett: Yes thatís a fairly bog standard off season, some guys might do work in the gym, I've been experimenting with it a little and I know the Scandinavians may do a lot of x-country skiing as that uses the same muscle groups.
Sam Jackson: Has your off-season this year been markedly different as you face your move to Movistar for 2013?
Alex Dowsett: Only with adding in Gym work into my programme.
Sam Jackson: What was the main reason for your move to ride for Movistar next season?
Alex Dowsett: Opportunities, Sky is a fantastic team but I realized very quickly that with there being so many brilliant GC riders there and the fact that experience counts for a lot when getting into the big races I needed to step away to gain this experience, Movistar is a fantastic outfit that has produced some great riders and promised to give me opportunities in the bigger races.
Sam Jackson: What will your main role be at Movistar and does that differ from your role at Team Sky?
Alex Dowsett: It doesn't differ too much, I can time trial well so that will be a big focus, I have GC aspirations in races like Eneco Tour and will be supported by the team in these and in the mountainous tours I will be a domestique and maybe go for individual time trial. stages.
Sam Jackson: Have you noticed any great cultural differences in the running of Movistar so far in comparison with Team Sky?
Alex Dowsett: There are a lot more similarities than I thought there would be, all the big cycling teams operate in a highly efficient way.
Sam Jackson: As pro cycling teams are so cosmopolitan nowadays, is there any great language barrier to overcome in terms of Team Sky being ĎBritishí and Movistar ĎSpanishí?
Alex Dowsett: There is, the team is keen to learn English as thatís the way the sport is going but I do need to learn Spanish, Iím having 3 lessons a week, it's hard to get my head round that a noun, i.e. something like a bike can be masculine or feminine and the verb has to change accordingly!
Sam Jackson You were well known when riding for Team Sky that you often remained based in Essex. Does your move to Movistar affect that?
Alex Dowsett: Nope, Iím an Essex boy through and through, I race best when Iím happy and Iím happy here in Essex. I do understand the values of training abroad so ahead of Grand Tours I will get myself into some mountains for sure.
2013 & the Future
Sam Jackson: After your excellent result in the World Championships Time Trial, was there an increase in interest from teams in acquiring your services for 2013?
Alex Dowsett: Cycling is big business but a small World, it was common knowledge that Movistar were in for me, other teams approached us as well but we followed protocol by speaking with SKY then making a decision.
Sam Jackson: What is your main objective for 2013 and which races are you most looking forward to?
Alex Dowsett: Doing a Grand Tour and the Classics initially, the rough plan is for me to do Roubaix and Flanders and then the Giro. Iíd like to retain my National time trial title but it will be harder given that it's being moved in line with the National RR so Wiggo and Froome might be there. Iíd like to win a tour, something like Ster Electro, Eneco, Circuit de la Sarthe, basically a hard tour with minimal mountains and with a decent TT in it.
Sam Jackson: Could you see yourself ever consider crossing over to track cycling, perhaps for an Olympic Games?
Alex Dowsett: Maybe, I was hitting fairly good numbers in 2010 training for European champs but I couldnít get myself off the start line quick enough, I can see there being more chance that Iíll be on the road for Rio.
Sam Jackson: If you could pick one race to win in your career, which would it be and why?
Alex Dowsett: Olympic and World TT Championships, I love my time trialling and thatís the ultimate win.
Sam Jackson: What impact did riding for Trek-Livestrong have on your career, and how would you say it has helped you in terms of you career development?
Alex Dowsett: The GB academy was great and prepared me for the Trek-Livestrong experience, I entered there as one of the most disciplined riders. The GB academy presented us to pro teams as the complete package.
I also learnt how to win races and the importance of enjoying what Iím doing.
Sam Jackson: Do you see yourself as solely a time-triallist specialist, a discipline in which you have obviously had a great deal of success?
Alex Dowsett: No, itís obviously a key ingredient to my success but Iíve won road races, I think I can be a solid all rounder.
Sam Jackson: What would you say has been your career highlight so far?
Alex Dowsett: 8th in the World TT Championships.
Sam Jackson: What is your favorite race to participate in as a rider?
Alex Dowsett: I got a real kick out of the World Team Time Trial Championships, we didnít do great but was a buzz nonetheless.
Sam Jackson: Who are your best friends, or who do you talk to the most, in the peloton?
Alex Dowsett: Mostly the lads my age, Ben King, Jesse Sergent, Taylor Phinney, Michael Matthews etc. Weíre all going through roughly the same thing so we can relate to each other a lot.
Sam Jackson: What is your favorite place in the world to ride a bike?
Alex Dowsett: I loved training in Switzerland, just getting lost in the hills, I want to head back this summer with a mountain bike though! I have a ride at home I enjoy, it's simply blue egg (my regular cafť) and back, it's flat quiet roads and 2 hours total, I like having somewhere to aim for on a ride.
Sam Jackson: Could you ever see yourself doing a ĎWiggoí and going from being an outstanding rider against the clock to being a Grand Tour contender?
Alex Dowsett: Yes.